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The French words we use in everyday English conversations

PUBLISHED: 14:34 19 April 2017 | UPDATED: 14:34 19 April 2017

Apéritif is a French word used in everyday English © StGrafix / Thinkstockphotos

Apéritif is a French word used in everyday English © StGrafix / Thinkstockphotos

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Some words just sound better in French! These are some of the French words we use in everyday conversation – you might not even realise that they are French

Apéritif

An alcoholic drink taken before dinner to stimulate your appetite

Bon appétit

Used as a salutation to a person about to eat

Caricature

A picture or imitation of a person in which certain striking characteristics are exaggerated for comic effect

Carte blanche

Complete freedom to act as one wishes

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Chic

Elegant and stylishly fashionable, often used to describe the way French women dress

Cliché

A very predictable or unoriginal thing or person, a stereotype

Coup

A highly successful surprise manoeuvre, often used to describe a sudden seizure of power from a government

Déjà-vu

A feeling of having already experienced the present situation

Encore

A call for a repeated or additional performance of an item at the end of a concert

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Entrepreneur

A person who sets up a business

Exposé

A report in the media that reveals something discreditable

Façade

The principal front of a building or a deceptive outward appearance

Fait accompli

A thing that has already happened or been decided before those affected hear about it, leaving them no option but to accept it

Fiancé(e)

A man or woman to whom one is engaged to be married

Frisson

A sudden shudder of emotion, often excitement or fear

Genre

A style or category of art, music or literature

Je ne sais quoi

A quality that cannot be described or named easily

Joie de vivre

An enjoyment of life

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Laissez-faire

Let things take their own course without interfering

Motif

A decorative image or design especially a reported one forming a pattern or a dominant or recurring idea in an artistic work

Raison d’être

The most important reason or purpose for someone or something’s existence

Résumé

A summary or a CV

RSVP

‘Réponez s’il vous plaît’, used at the end of invitations to request a response

Savoir-faire

The ability to do the right thing in every situation

Soirée

An evening party or social gathering, typically in a private house

Terroir

The complete natural environment in which a particular wine is produced, including factors such as the soil, topography and climate

Touché

The acknowledgement of a good or clever point made at one’s expense during a discussion or a scoring hit has been recorded in fencing.

Trompe l’oeil

A visual illusion in art, especially used to trick the eye into perceiving a painted detail as a three-dimensional object

Voilà

Used to express success or satisfaction

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