Pronunciation – 30 French Words Used in English! (video)

by Melanie on October 25, 2011

Have you noticed that some English words don’t quite sound English?

Have you noticed some English words with accents?

That’s because we stole some French words and made them English words! (We also changed the pronunciation and definitions a bit, too!)

Those of you who have studied history will know that the English language is a mixture of Germanic languages and the French spoken by the Normans (from western France) who conquered England in 1066. However, the words in this video are recent additions to English!

(See below for the definitions of these words.)



Here are the 30 words in the video:

balleta classical style of dance

bouqueta group of flowers put together either to display or to carry

boutiquea small store that sells fashionable (and sometimes expensive) clothes and accessories

café - a small, simple restaurant or coffeeshop

chefa professional cook (who usually works in a restaurant)

coup / coup d’etatan overthrow (removal) of a government (usually by the military); a seizure of power

coup (another definition) – an achievement that is unexpected and impressive

debaclea messy defeat or failure

debutthe first appearance or performance of something (a play, a song, a product, etc.), usually in public

décorthe appearance of a room or indoor space; the colour of the walls, the window coverings, the furniture, etc.; the way the room is decorated

déjà vualready seen; the strange feeling that you have already experienced something that is happening now

encorean audience calls ‘encore’ at the end of a performance (a concert, a play, etc.) when they want the performance to continue

en masseall together, as a group, at the same time

en route - on the way (to somewhere)

entréethe main course/dish of a meal

entrepreneura person who starts their own business

façadethe front of a building

faux pas - an embarrassing mistake, especially socially or in fashion

fiancé(e)the person you are engaged to / committed to marry; fiancé – male, fiancée – female

genrea particular style or type of art, movie, book, etc.,

hors d’œuvresappetizers; small bits of food before a meal or at a party

liaisona person or organization that helps other people or organizations work together effectively and helps them communicate

matinéethe afternoon performance of a play, or showing of a movie

menua list of things you can choose from, for example dishes at a restaurant, choices on a computer

naïveinnocent, simple, too ready to believe someone or something because of a lack of knowledge or experience

petiteused to describe a small, slender woman

potpourria nice smelling mixture of dried petals, leaves, and spices; used to make a room or other place smell nice

protégéa younger person who is taught, helped, by someone older, more knowledgeable, and more experienced

restauranta place of business where you can buy and eat a meal

resuméa written summary of your education, work experience, and achievements; also known as a ‘curriculum vitae’ (CV)

sautéa method of cooking; to fry food in a small amount of fat (usually oil)

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Zaki August 4, 2012 at 12:35 pm

those words used in english really? I speak french and english, but I just saw some of them and other words you did not notice


Melanie 2 Melanie August 4, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Hi, Zaki!

Yes, these words are really used in English! I chose 30 of the most common words. This is not a complete list of all the French words used in English. The pronunciation is also different from French because the words have become ‘anglicized’!

= )


3 Susan December 9, 2013 at 8:13 am

All the words in your video “ch” words pronounced with “sh” also originate from the French language. Some of the crossover words between English and French are because of marriages between Royalties in England & France. Also for many words they have deeper roots in Latin. Love the video slideshows.


4 Zaki August 6, 2012 at 11:14 am

oh yeh but I can see somewords can spell same like: idiot, ex, explore, range, question… I can’t remember all words hhhh, and some words changed a bit like Prix became Price and Idée became Idea.. =)
as you said, languages share words between each other because the most languages born in Europ (Spanish in Spain,English in England,Frensh in France,Italian in Italy..) and these countries are linked so in the past somehow they shared some words ;)


5 Cami August 9, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Great video! I use some of them nowadays but I will start using the rest to enrich my vocabulary. Thanks, Melanie! You should keep putting up videos like this one, soooo useful!


6 Nadezhda March 3, 2013 at 3:19 pm

very useful, thank you!!!!
i remember one more french word: pâté


Melanie 7 Melanie March 27, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Yes! You are correct. I’ve never eaten pâté. Have you?

= )


8 krish November 5, 2013 at 7:28 am

Hi! Made great viewing actually. How about ‘haute coutre’ ? Seems to be in great ‘vogue’ these days.


9 Isabelle December 9, 2013 at 8:52 am

Rendez-vous for ‘date’


10 akhil February 27, 2014 at 10:13 am

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