All These Little French and American Words…

 A2Z-BADGE 2016-smaller_zpslstazvib


Like most expats and immigrants who’ve left their motherland during adulthood, I navigate between my native and adoptive languages on a daily basis.

A language is alive and follows social changes;  it’s only normal to notice new slang words or trends. This is what catches my attention and sometimes takes me by surprise when I arrive in France. Since I’m fluent, it doesn’t take me long to get these new little words and expressions.

The French have actually made it much easier for me now that they sprinkle their conversations, billboards, and newspapers with countless English (most often American English) words and expressions.

In an interesting way, it is the other way around in the USA. Most French words that are part of the American language are somewhat old-fashioned and passé in France.

By the way, Passé is one of these French words that convey a different meaning in France.

So, for the month of April, I’ll try to play with these little French and American words and see what happens to them when they cross the Atlantic Ocean. I will also offer a French and English version of each of my posts. When the word is originally from France, I’ll start with the French version and vice versa.

I’m very much looking forward to your comments and suggestions. And support too!

Without further ado, welcome to Day One of the A to Z Challenge!




D’après le Merriam Webster dictionnaire ce mot français qui remonte au 16e siècle désigne un vêtement ou une pièce d’équipement utilisé pour une activité particulière ou dans un certain endroit.

Par exemple:

Les accoutrements d’un ordre religieux.

La chambre d’hôtel avait tous les accoutrements d’un hôtel de première classe.

En fait, je ne l’ai jamais personnellement entendu dans ces contextes aux Etats Unis, mais par contre je l’ai lu sur plusieurs menus de restaurants français et américains contemporains.

Accoutrements dans ce cas se réfère aux cornichons, câpres, marmelades, noix, voire fleurs, qui accompagnent un plateau de charcuteries, de fromages, ou encore de poissons fumés.


accoutrements boulud

En France, Accoutrement désigne un style d’habillement un peu étrange, voire ridicule.


According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary this French word that dates from the 16th century describes clothing or equipment used for a certain activity or in a specific place.

For example:

The accoutrements of religious ritual.

The hotel room had all the accoutrements of a four star hotel.

I’ve never heard this word in such contexts in the USA, but I’ve read it on several contemporary restaurants’ menus, either French or French American.

In this case Accoutrements designates the pickles, capers, olives, nuts, marmalades, even flowers, that accompany an assortment of charcuterie, cheese, or still smoked fish.


Embed from Getty Images

In France, the word Accoutrement describes a weird, almost ridiculous way of dressing.


Do you know of another French or English word starting with the letter A that has a different meaning whether it’s used in France or the USA?

Connaissez-vous un autre mot français ou anglais commençant par la lettre A qui a un sens différent selon qu’il soit utilisé en France ou aux Etats Unis?

See you tomorrow for the letter B.

%d bloggers like this: