French Phrases In English

The English meanings are not necessarily literal translations.

a bas – down, down with
a compte – on account, in part payment
a demi – by halves, half
a deux – of two, between two, two-handed
a haute voix – aloud
a jamais – for ever

a la bonne heure – in good time, all right, as you please
a la mode – in fashion
a la mort – to the death
allez vous en! – away with you!
a propos de rien – apropos of nothing
a tout prix – at any price
au contraire – on the contrary
au courant – up-to-date
au fait – well acquainted with, expert
au fond – at bottom
au revoir – goodbye, till we meet again
a volonte – at pleasure
beau monde – the world of fashion, high society
bete noire – a bugbear, your favourite hate
bien entendu – of course, to be sure
bon diable – good-natured fellow
bon gout – good taste
bon mot – a witty saying
bon ton – the height of fashion
bon vivant – one who lives luxuriously and enjoys good food and drink
bon voyage – a good journey to you!
comme il faut – as it should be, correct
compte rendu – an account rendered
carte blanche – unrestricted power to act on one’s own
cause celebre – a widely known controversial case or issue
coup de grace – finishing blow
coup d’etat – a sudden decisive blow in politics
coute que coute – cost what it may
crème de la crème – cream of the cream, the very best

de rigueur – compulsory, indispensable
double entendre – a double meaning, a play on words
en avant – forward!
en deshabille – in undress
en famille – with one’s family
enfant terrible – a terrible child, a little terror
en fete – festive, keeping holiday
en rapport – in agreement, in sympathy with
en regle – in order, according to rules
en route – on the way
fait accompli – a thing already done
faute de mieux – for want of a better alternative
faux pas – a false step, a slip in behaviour
force majeure – superior power, a force one cannot resist
homme d’affaires – a man of business
homme du monde – a man of the world
idée fixe – a fixed idea
je ne sais quoi – I know not what; an elusive quality
mal a propos – ill-timed
nom de guerre – pseudonym
nom de plume – pen name
nouveaux riches – persons who have only recently become rich, upstarts
par excellence – eminently, by way of ideal
sans souci – without care
savoir faire – the ability to say and do the correct thing
tete-a-tete – a private interview, a confidential conversation
vis-à-vis – opposite
vogue la galere – come what may!

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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