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Imported Words - French Borrowings


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We've borrowed so many words from French that someone once half-seriously claimed that English is little more than French badly pronounced. Some of these words have kept their original spelling, while others have become so Anglicized you may not recognize them as originally French.

1. envoy (en"voi, än"-) a diplomatic agent; A representative of a government who is sent on a special diplomatic mission. .

2. résumé (rez"» ma', rez'» ma") a summing up; a brief account of personal, educational, and professional qualifications and experience, as of an applicant for a job.

3. coup d'état (k»'da tä") a sudden and decisive action in politics, especially one effecting a change of government, illegally or by force. (OR) The sudden overthrow of a government by a usually small group of persons in or previously in positions of authority.

4. cause célèbre (kôz"s* leb", -leb"r*) any controversy that attracts great public attention.

5. avant-garde (* vänt'gärd", * vant'-, av'äN-, ä"väN-) the advance group in any field, especially in the visual, literary, or musical arts, whose works are unorthodox and experimental.

6. laissez-faire (les'a fâr") the theory that government should intervene as little as possible in economic affairs.

7. rendezvous (rän"d* v»', -da-) an agreement between two or more people to meet at a certain time and place.

8. cul-de-sac (kul"d* sak") a street, lane, etc., closed at one end; blind alley.

9. esprit de corps (e spre" d* kôr") a sense of union and of common interests and responsibilities, as developed among a group of persons associated together.

10. idée fixe (e'da feks") a fixed idea; obsession.

11. joie de vivre (zhwä'd* vev", ve"vr*) a delight in being alive. A keen enjoyment of living.

12. milieu (mil y»", mel-) an environment; medium.

13. potpourri (po'p» re") a mixture of dried petals of roses or other flowers with spices, kept in a jar for their fragrance.

14. rapport (ra pôr", r*-) a harmonious or sympathetic relationship or connection.

15. bon vivant (bon"ve vänt", bôN"ve väN") a person who lives luxuriously and enjoys good food and drink.


Sample Usage

Several countries sent an envoy to the affected area to determine the need for assistance after the disaster.

Billy sent a resume to a prospective employer.

The winning goal was quite a coup against the first place team.

Many of these cases rank as causes celebre, notably those of Archbishop Joseph Napoleon Perche, No

People who support a laissez faire system are against minimum wages, duties, and any other trade restrictions.

The ship meant to collect them was unable to make the rendezvous.

NO SMOKING in the house: use the secluded cul-de-sac for a quick puff.

They were lucky enough to have esprit de corps, & to have Bligh like this only some of the time.

It is an idée fixe of mine that women work in a more concentrated way.

Four chapters describe the milieu in which computer science is managed and financed.

I also have some potpourri made from the dozens of the roses she gave me.

Aim to develop rapport Your aim is to develop rapport during the meeting.



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