Using foreign words - French

ScottsEnglishScottsEnglish Administrator Posts: 1,093 admin ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

Foreign words in English that you need to know.

English has taken words from almost every language that it has encountered. Here are some words that are originally French which you might read or hear on an exam:

déjà vu This expression means "already seen" in English, and refers to the feeling that something is familiar. Example: "The plot of the film gave the spectators a feeling of déjà vu, as it seemed similar to the director's previous film."

rendez-vous This means "meeting" or "appointment". Example: "The managers have a rendez-vous with the customers in order to discuss new products."

RSVP These letters mean, "répondez s'il vous plaît", or, in English, "please answer." They may be found at the bottom of an invitation to an event. Example: "The new secretary is getting married and we are all invited; however, we need to RSVP so that they know how many guests to expect."

coup d'état 
This expression means "cut of the state" or "blow to the state" and refers to a revolution in which the government is replaced. Example: "A good justice system can help a state to avoid a coup d'état."

façade This word means "false front". It can refer to a building, or a person who is not expressing his or her true feelings. Example: "Behind her façade of calm, she is actually quite concerned about the situation."

avant-garde This compound word means "at the forefront", usually used for advanced technology or arts. Example: "While heart transplant were once avant-garde medical procedures, they have become common in many hospitals." 

matinée This word means "morning", and often in English is used to talk about a morning showing of a film or a play. Example: "Many people went to the matinée of the new film because the ticket prices where reduced."


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