All These Little French and American Words…


Welcome to the A to Z Challenge!

Today one word for the letter G

* one French word that has a common meaning in France and in the USA, but also more meanings when used in France

Avant que ma fille ainée n’entre à l’école élémentaire, nous ne parlions que français ensemble. Rapidement, cependant, elle commença à mélanger l’anglais et le français, créant ainsi des conversations à la fois amusantes et compliquées à suivre. En CE2, elle me parla un jour de genre. Elle prononça ce mot à l’américaine (pas grand chose à voir avec la prononciation française). Basé sur la prononciation, je n’ai réalisé que plus tard que je connaissais en fait parfaitement ce mot français.

Le mot Genre aux USA décrit, comme en France, une catégorie artistique, particulièrement pour un film ou un livre.

Par contre Genre ne s’utilise pas pour parler d’une personne qui a mauvais genre, par exemple, ni pour spécifier le genre des noms ou adjectifs (ils n’en ont pas en anglais), ou encore pour traduire l’expression “Tu vois le genre.”


Before my oldest daughter started school, she and I always spoke French together. Soon, however, she started to mix and match English and French, creating funny but also tricky conversations, difficult to follow. When she was in second grade, she used the word Genre. She pronounced it the American way (quite different from the French). Based on the pronunciation, I only realized later that in fact I knew this French word very well.

In French, the word Genre depicts also the style or kind of art for a movie, a book, etc, but can also be used in other contexts. For example to describe a person or place that looks disreputable or to specify if a noun or adjective is masculine or feminine. It’s also used to say the equivalent of the American expression: “You know the type!”



Books in different genres cohabit on one of the many bookshelves my husband and I share.


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

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


See you tomorrow for the letter H.


  1. C’est le genre de texte que j’aime !

  2. GRANDGUILLOT Agnès says:

    Coucou Evelyne,

    What about the word gimmick ? en français, voici la définition de Wikipedia : “Dans le langage courant, un *gimmick* est une tournure de langage, de comportement ou de comédie récurrente, propice à identifier intrinsèquement son auteur.” Est-ce qu’on lui donne aussi ce sens là en anglais ?


    Agnès Grandguillot 24 rue Lieutenant Colonel Girard 69007 Lyon 06 77 58 75 59

    2016-04-08 15:16 GMT+02:00 Evelyne Holingue :

    > evelyneholingue posted: ” Welcome to the A to Z Challenge! Today one word > for the letter G * one French word that has a common meaning in France and > in the USA, but also more meanings when used in France Avant que ma fille > ainée n’entre à l’école élémentaire, nous ne parlions” >

  3. I’m impressed that you and your husband are able to share bookshelves. In our family, we tend to dominate bookcases.

  4. I took French at the university but must admit that I have not used it in years. Now that I am learning Italian some of my French is coming back.
    Visiting from the A to Z Blog Challenge.

    Patricia @ EverythingMustChange

    • Glad to refresh your knowledge. Italian would have been a language of my choice, too. Common roots with French but still a whole different language. Thank you for another visit, Pat.

  5. Another great post, Evelyne. I now know another meaning of ‘genre’ 🙂

  6. What about ‘groom’?
    En français, le groom est celui/celle qui s’occupe des chevaux, jamais le marié.
    Actually, I have been wondering about the ‘groom’ part in bridegroom?
    Wikipedia says:
    Etymology: The first mention of the term bridegroom dates to 1604, from the Old English brȳdguma, a compound of brȳd (bride) and guma (man, human being, hero).
    Nothing to do with being well-groomed then?

    • Great suggestion, Lou. Here the person who takes care of the horses is also called a groom. The verb to groom is used for the care of an animal’s coat or fur but also to train someone to a specific task.
      The bridegroom used to designate a man on his wedding day. In the States two nouns have been made out of one: Bride for the woman on a wedding day and Groom for the man.
      Thank you for stopping by and adding to the topic of these little words used in France and the USA. Hope to see you again.

  7. Bon choix de mot. J’ai toujours du mal avec des genres du noms en français !

  8. I only know genre in terms of books or films so it’s fascinating to learn another meaning – particularly the disreputable character!

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