In today’s lesson we’ll have a look at the French word frais. This word can pose some issues as it’s both a an adjective an noun with unrelated meanings. As an adjective, frais means cool and fresh. As an noun it translates to fees or costs.
cool, fresh, fee, cost
According to Wiktionary.org, the French adjective frais comes from the Old Frankish frisk (fresh, recent, non-altered). The French noun frais comes from the Old French frait, which in turn comes from the Latin word fredum (fine paid by a person who was guilty of disturbing the public peace).
Adjective: frais = cool / fresh
For our first example, frais means “cool” as in cool air. This lesson on our site covers French weather terms in detail.
Il fait frais aujourd’hui et je vais mettre un pull.
It’s cool out and I’m going to put on my sweater.
For this next example, frais means “fresh” in the context of the freshness of food. This page on our site covers acheter (to buy) in detail and this lesson covers food vocabulary. This lesson covers the adverb toujours (always) in detail.
Nous achetons toujours des légumes frais.
We always buy fresh vegetables.
Frais can also be used in the context of “fresh” as in “fresh air” or “cool air”.
J’adore aller à la campagne pour respirer l’air frais.
I love going to the countryside to breathe fresh air.
The feminine form of the adjective frais is fraîche. One usage of fraîche is crème fraîche, a dairy product without an English translation that’s used in many French dishes.
Je vais au supermarché pour acheter de la crème fraîche.
I’m going to the supermarket to buy some crème fraîche.
Noun: frais = fee
As a masculine plural noun, les frais translates to fees or costs.
Quels sont les frais pour s’inscrire au club de tennis ?
What are the fees to sign up for the tennis club?
This example sentence has includes the words États-Unis (United States), which can be difficult to pronounce. This lesson coverst the pronunciation of États-Unis in detail.
Les frais de scolarité sont trop élevés aux États-Unis.
Tuition fees are too high in the United States.
Fraise = strawberry
As a feminine noun fraise, with an -e, means strawberry.
Préférez-vous les fraises ou les cerises?
Do you prefer strawberries or cherries?