10 French expressions we often use in English

We live in an extremely globalized era. Because of this, many French words and expressions have made it to other cultures.
Some people think that these additions can damage the target language. Others see the usefulness of universal or globalized terms, especially given the current importance of international communication.
Be that as it may, some French words are very present in today’s English. Let’s look at some of them 😉.


1. À la carte


2. Haute couture


3. Je ne sais quoi

4. Exposé


5. Bon appétit


6. Eau de toilette


7. Art deco


8. Souvenir


9. Femme fatale


10. Soirée


What about you? Are you in favour or against the use of these terms?
If you have more examples, write them down in the comment section and we will soon write another article using them 😉.

Check out our blog and discover more articles about languages and translation.



Oxford Dictionary

20 Responses to “10 French expressions we often use in English

  • Adrian Boyle
    2 years ago

    De rigueur

  • Anthony Njie
    2 years ago

    Fait accompli, coup de grace, déjà vu, en route, habitué, entrepreneur, raison d’être, sortie, travail, en masse, tourniquet, ricochet, voilà, c’est la vie, touché, coup de coeur etc..

  • Per-Erik Nordström
    2 years ago

    en route

  • Laura Fernández Calzada
    2 years ago

    Thank you so much for the comments! We noted them all 😉

  • Sabrina
    2 years ago

    Garage, eau de parfum, liaison, tour, fiancé/e, croquet, quiche, nonchalant, naïve

  • Sabrina
    2 years ago


  • Karena Keeley
    2 years ago

    Many of these expressions predate globalisation/the Internet by many, many years however and have been in use for half a century upwards [at least since I was a child in the ’60s] and in some cases for well over 100 years. My husband, who is Iranian [and hasn’t set foot there for 40 years], has always told me that there are also many borrowed French expressions that have been added to Farsi. As discussed in a translators’ forum the other day, other adopted French terms include façade/facade, fiancé/e, café and née/nee [in the case of a woman’s maiden name]. Also chic, bizarre, grotesque [apparently Italian originally, but we certainly borrowed it from French], volte-face, esprit de corps, bête-noir, chaise longue, and in the UK, cafetière, courgette and aubergine [again from elsewhere originally, but it’s the French form that we adopted]. If you threw too many of these into the same sentence it would sound extremely pretentious of course…

  • Karena Keeley
    2 years ago

    Impasse, cul-de-sac, and very old-fashioned – pince nez, lorgnette. I think it’s fair to say that we “frères ennemis” [in the most light-hearted sense – and we don’t have anything half as good to compete with French for this expression so we really should adopt it] like to borrow from one another a lot…

  • Brid Keane
    2 years ago

    laisse faire

  • Natalia
    2 years ago

    Vis à vis

  • Eleonora GELLINI
    2 years ago

    Did anyone mention “vestibule”, “aubergines” or “courgettes”? This list is a good start but is definitely not exhaustive…
    The French words and expressions that are commonly used in the everyday English language are many more than what we could suspect…and this is actually even true with the use of words from other languages too, and most of the time people are using these words without being aware these are from other languages.
    The funny end of the story is that I have found out this reality only when I was freshly arrived to England after living so many years in France where many language purists consider you should fight against the use of English words in French… they would be quite surprised and rather proud to find out this truth!
    Morality: whether we like it or not, modern languages are alive and therefore subject to influences brought by the interaction of different cultures that took place in the course of History… not only the result of modern globalisation then.

  • Sara Ray
    2 years ago

    faux pas, cliche, chercher la femme, baguette, avant garde, art nouveau, ancien regime, entente cordial, bourgeois, aperitif, …

  • Lennart Eriksson
    2 years ago

    half your language is from French

  • Sara Ray
    2 years ago

    Oops! Entente cordiale!

  • I think no language is pure! For example, my native language – Amharic, has lots of borrowed words from Arabic, French, English, Italian, and most probably from Hebrew and other languages. Of course, English, French and Arabic are the dominant languages over other languages, I presume.

  • María de la Luz Rayneld-Franco
    2 years ago

    Coup d’etat

  • Nouveau riche

  • Rendez vous. Vis à vis. Par rapport. Résumé

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