Parlez-Vous Français?


You may not have realized it My Dear, but you are a French speaker. There is a seemingly endless list of French phrases used by English speakers in everyday situations… Granted, they are usually in the wrong context and often butchered by poor pronunciation, but hey, we’re trying!

It’s very surprising when you realize how many of these phrases we know and how often we use them. I’ve compiled a list of some of favorites.

adieu – until God
Used as ‘farewell’ when you don’t expect to see the person again until you’re in Heaven.

au fait – conversant, informed
Used to mean ‘well-read’ or ‘familiar’ with a certain topic or idea.

au gratin – with gratings
Refers to anything grated and served on top of a dish, such as cheese.

avant-garde – before guard
Meaning ‘innovative’, especially in fashion and the arts.

billet-doux – sweet note
A love letter… aww. I want one!

bon appétit – good appetite
Similar to saying, “Enjoy your meal.”

bon voyage – good trip
It sounds more elegant than “Have a good trip”, doesn’t it?

carte blanche – blank card
Having the freedom or ability to do whatever you want.

chic – stylish
We don’t need an explanation for this, do we ladies?

du jour – of the day
Usually referring to the Daily Special at restaurants.

faux – false, fake
As in, all my Louis Vuitton bags.

faux pas – false step, trip
Used to describe a mistake or slip-up.

fleur-de-lis – flower or lily
An emblem in the shape of an iris with three petals.

gauche – left, awkward
Lacking social grace.

haute couture – high sewing
Referring to expensive clothing styles.

RSVP – respond please
This abbreviation stands for Répondez, s’il vous plaît. If you take one thing from this list, let it be that saying “Please RSVP” is redundant.

soirée – evening
If often refers to a fancy, elegant party.

touché – touched
Used originally in fencing, meaning “you got me”.

Have fun with these, but you may want to limit their usage to avoid sounding like Christian from Project Runway. ;)