12 English Words That Have A Completely Different Meaning In French
Being bilingual may be convenient, but it comes with it's own set of problems. The main one being that our brain sometimes makes a switch from French to English without us realizing, and that can be dangerous when the French word you're using has a completely different meaning in English.
I first noticed this when I was talking about wine and I kept saying "raisins" instead of "grapes". Of course that eventually led to a crazy scheme to make pre-aged wine using raisins instead of grapes, but I digress.
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I realized there were several other words with very different meanings, and that can be confusing as hell to someone trying to master both languages.
Here are some of my favorites:
(Words in Italics are French)
1. Entree vs Entrée
This one bothers me more than the rest, "entrée" in French translates to "entrance", so it's logical for it to refer to the first thing you eat during a meal, such as a salad. But for some reason "entree" in English refers to your main course.
So fuck it, I'm using entree as an entrée to this article.
2. Bless vs Blesse
This is funny because even though only one letter differs, the meaning is completely opposite. "Blesse" in French means "hurt" and in English it means invoking divine favor.
3. Assist vs Assiste
With only one extra letter, you'd think the meaning would be relatively similar. after all, French is always adding random E's at the end of words , that's just what they do right?
However, "Assist" means you're helping someone. But in French, "assiste" means to attend something.
3. Attends vs Attends
To make the previous point even more confusing, in English the word "attends" means to be present somewhere, but in French it means "wait".
4. Bras vs Bras
This one makes me laugh. In French it simply means arms and in English it's a device to support your boobs. But technically arms can also be used to support boobs. And who doesn't appreciate a good handbra?(NSFW)
5. Cent vs Cent
I guess the French are simply more optimistic than the English. The same word can refer to "100" in French and yet, it's the lowest form of currency in English.
6. Coin vs Coin
Speaking of money, in English coin is money but in French it means the corner. Oddly enough people have had a long history of standing on street corners to earn some coin.
7. Con vs Con
Another interesting one, in French "con" means idiot. While "con" means to scam, which in a way makes the the person who got scammed feel idiotic.
8. Crayon vs Crayon
This one really messed with me growing up because a "crayon" in French is a pencil, which we would use to do serious school work. Try asking for a "crayon" in English without sounding like a kindergartner holding a coloring book.
9. Demand vs Demande
Again, complete opposites. To demand something literally means "I'm not asking, I'm requesting". But in French it just means "asking".
10. Douche vs Douche
They're close because they both refer to "cleaning". But in French it's a shower and in English ... well it's way too early in the day for me to start elaborating on the English definition.
11. Bite vs Bites
This is kind of scary. Two words that should never be associated under any circumstance. In case you don't think so, consider this: "Bite" means penis in French. Which means the worst thing that could ever happen to you while getting a BJ would be for someone to bite your "bite".
12. Gross vs Grosse
This one is just plain cruel. Imagine if the word for referring to a fat woman literally meant "disgusting".