This Is So Cliché…

Nowadays, we French hear a lot about English words entering the French language. But what about the other way round? Indeed, the English language has borrowed many words from French: some of them have evolved, and some are used just as they are in French. To understand this influence over English, we have to go back to the historic Norman invasion of 1066, which left England under Norman rule, meaning French became the lingua franca. As a result of this, more than a third of words in the English language are of French origin… Here is a brief outline of the influence left by French on the language of Shakespeare…

It is quite likely that you find many words used in English seem linked to French. This is logical, they are indeed! Here is a small list of English words that are of French origin: abomination, competition, force, police, role, table, routine, different, marriage, client, art, perception, surprise, influence, accusation, signal, boutique, lieutenant, colonel, fatigue, potpourri, publicity…

These words transformed over time (lack of written accents, small spelling differences, different pronunciations…), whereas others were borrowed from French and left untouched such as déjà-vu, cliché, séance, vis-à-vis, café au lait, touché, crème brûlée, nouveau riche, laissez-faire, croissant…

And what about French expressions and interjections? English-speakers just love them as they are “so chic”! Here are some common examples:

  • Quelle surprise!
  • Voila!
  • Encore!
  • Oh la la!
  • Bon voyage!
  • Un je ne sais quoi…
  • Bon appétit!
  • J’accuse!

These expressions are actually known and used by English-speaking people.

And since France is the country of love and elegance, let’s conclude with a few words commonly used in English: rendezvous, couture, chic, brunette, fiancé, faux pas, ballet, avant-garde, façade, liaison


You might also like:

3 thoughts on “This Is So Cliché…”

  1. I’m glad you liked my article. I read yours carefully and I must say I found it excellent : you’re really showing the huge influence of French over English ! Thank you for the link 🙂

  2. It ought to be pointed out that the phrase is “so clichéd”, not “so cliché”. Cliché is a noun, and the correct adjectival form is “clichéd”.

Comments are closed.