Special Report

30 Common English Words That Are Really French

The English and French languages share over 1,700 identical words – often with similar or exact meanings. In fact, up to 45% of English words have French origins, largely due to the Norman invasion of Britain in 1066. (French is far from the only language to have influenced English. Here are 30 everyday English words you didn’t know came from Arabic.)

To compile a list of some common English words that are really French – either spelled exactly the same way, usually with the same meaning, or drawn from a similarly spelled French term – 24/7 Tempo consulted the Oxford English Dictionary and language sites including Babbel, Translation Directory, French Together, and Busuu. Because French culinary terms are so common in English – from “café” to “soufflé” and even “restaurant” and “cuisine” – they are not included here.

Click here to see 30 common English words that are really French

A major difference between the English and French vocabulary is the French use of diacritics, the accent marks attached to particular letters. Many of the words with French origins are exactly the same except for an accent above a certain letter, such as the English “debris” and the French “débris” – though some French terms, like the aforementioned “café” and “soufflé,” retain their accents in our language.

In addition to exact cognates with origins in Old French, English has many words that are derived from the names of famous French people, including “pasteurize,” “silhouette,” and “magnolia.” Still other parts of our vocabulary are borrowed from modern French, such as the phrases “avant-garde” and “déjà vu.” (English also borrows Latin phrases. Here are Latin phrases everyone should know.)

Sponsored: Tips for Investing

A financial advisor can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of investment properties. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Investing in real estate can diversify your portfolio. But expanding your horizons may add additional costs. If you’re an investor looking to minimize expenses, consider checking out online brokerages. They often offer low investment fees, helping you maximize your profit.