60 French Words Used In English

The most common French words used in English include words such as café au lait, bon appétit, avant-garde, rendez-vous, ‎cul-de-sac, ‎eau de taoilette and déjà vu. This page contains a list of the sixty most common French borrow words in the English language.

French words used in English

French words used in English

  1. à la – To the/in the manner of
  2. à la carte – Restaurant menu items sold separately or individually usually in smaller portions.
  3. à la mode – Refers to serving a desert with ice cream, eg “apple pie à la mode.
  4. à propos – regarding/concerning
  5. adieu – good-bye or farewell
  6. amuse-bouche – Small bite-size hors d’œuvre
  7. apéritif – A drink taken before a meal, usually alcoholic.
  8. au jus – Culinary term referring to serving a dish with sauce
  9. blasé – Not being impressed with something due to over-familiarity
  10. bon appétit – “Enjoy your meal” – said before eating
  11. bon vivant – Somebody who enjoys their life
  12. boy voyage – Enjoy your trip!
  13. bourgeois – Preoccupied with material values and class rank or status
  14. brunette – Usually refers to a female with brown hair
  15. café – A coffee house
  16. café au lait – Coffee with milk
  17. chic – Stylish, in fashion
  18. cliché – A saying that is used to often
  19. clique – A tight or exclusive group – pronounced “Click” in English.
  20. crèche – Nativity scene for christmas
  21. crème brûlée – Desert with custard and caramelized sugar
  22. crème de la crème – Best of the best
  23. critique – An analysis of one’s work
  24. cul-de-sac – dead-end street
  25. décor – Referring to home decorating
  26. déjà vu – Literally “already seen” but refers to situations that seem like they’ve happened before.
  27. dossier – A file containing information about a person
  28. eau de toilette – Aromatic splashing water used after bathing; a mild perfume or cologne
  29. eau de vie – Whiskey, brandy or other strong alcoholic beverages.
  30. en garde – “Take your guard” – said in the sport of fencing.
  31. entre nous – Between us…
  32. entrée – The main dish of a meal (US) or the first course of a meal (UK)
  33. façade – A fake persona or false impressions
  34. faux – Adjective for fake, eg faux fur for fake fur
  35. faux pas – Something one must not do in order to remain polite
  36. femme fatale – A seductrice harboring bad intentions.
  37. fiancé/e – A woman or man who will be married.
  38. gaffe – Stupid mistake or blunder
  39. genre – Type or kind
  40. haute cuisine – High-end or gourmet cooking
  41. hors d’œuvre – Appetizer
  42. joie de vivre – Joy of living
  43. laissez-faire – Political philosophy referring to non-interference
  44. malaise – Sickness or not feeling comfortable
  45. Mardi Gras – Fat Tuesday, annual festival celebrated in New Orleans.
  46. milieu – Social environment
  47. né, née – Born, used in writing when referring to a woman’s maiden name.
  48. nouveau riche – Refers to people who have recently become wealthy but were previously poor.
  49. panache – Flamboyance
  50. par avion – Air mail
  51. prêt-à-porter – Ready to wear
  52. raison d’être – Reason or purpose for existing
  53. rapprochement – Diplomatic term for two states or bodies moving towards each other
  54. renaissance – Literally “rebirth” – Refers to 14-17th century Europe
  55. savant – Knowing or brilliant – often used in relation to those with Autism.
  56. soirée – Refers to an evening party
  57. soupe du jour – Soup of the day.
  58. tête-à-tête – Literally “head-to-head” – Refers to two people facing offer in a close debate.
  59. vinaigrette – Oil and vinegar salad dressing
  60. vis-à-vis – Comparing one thing in relation to another
Related lessons:
Discover more:

Sign Up For A FREE Trial French Lesson On Skype And Get Instant Access To My French Pronunciation Crash Course.

Get the French Pronunciation Crash Course!