All These Little French and American Words…




Welcome to the A to Z Challenge!

One word for the letter I

*a French preposition with the same meaning in France and in the USA but with a different spelling and a different popularity



IN LIEU (of)

In lieu (of) or in place (of) or instead (of) comes from the French preposition au lieu (de). Lieu means place in France.

In lieu is not as widely common as au lieu is in France. It is almost exclusively reserved to legal and official documents, which is not the case in France.

Both prepositions, however, have the same meaning in France and the USA.


La préposition française au lieu (de) se dit in lieu (of) aux USA.

Autant elle est courante en France, autant elle est peu employée dans la vie quotidienne aux USA son emploi se cantonne au language juridique et aux documents officiels.



In lieu (of) and au lieu (de) in two sentences:

Today, in lieu of going to my yoga class, I’ve decided to take a walk on the beach.

A little awkward, right?

Aujourd’hui, au lieu d’aller à ma classe de yoga, j’ai décidé de marcher sur la plage.

But in French, it’s totally fine.


Do you know of another French or English word starting with the letter I 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 I qui a un sens différent selon qu’il soit utilisé en France ou aux Etats Unis?


See you tomorrow for the letter J!



  1. I knew the legal meaning 🙂

  2. et très belle photo !

    • Merci! Je crois que c’est une photo que j’ai prise lorsque je suis allée à Miami. Beaucoup de belles plages aux Etats Unis. J’aime les plages du Maine, mais celles de la France me manquent parfois encore.

  3. This one is quite commonly used here Evelyne – we also have ‘lieu time’ which is time you’ve worked extra and can later take back.

    • I believe it’s an old French expression, too, but it seems like only the British use it in the labor laws. You know that I was born in Normandy and many words are Anglo Norman, due to the proximity of the two country and region. In any case, thank you for taking the time to comment and for supporting my little French and American words.

  4. In lieu of an interesting comment, I’ll just press the ‘Like’ button and move on.

  5. Right on! Thank you, Dan, for supporting my challenge. It’s getting complicated! Bear with me.

  6. Enjoyed the background on this word. You’re right in that it doesn’t seem to be used as much in the US.. I wonder why we don’t use it more?

    • French used to be the diplomatic language when France played a larger role in the world. So lots of terms linked to the kind of official documents used in diplomacy have a French origin and come from Latin.
      I see that your blog carries the name of a state I especially like. I’ll stop by soon!

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