All These Little French and American Words…


Welcome to the A to Z Challenge!

Today one word for the letter N

  • one French word that is used in France and the USA with one similar meaning in both countries but a slightly different spelling and has an additional meaning in France



Aux USA un négligé (de soie, comme l’a chanté Caroline Loeb, ou pas) est un négligée (toujours au féminin).

French people call a négligée a négligé, (masculine noun). But négligée is also the feminine version of the adjective négligé that describes someone who neglects her/his appearance or a place with a neglected appearance.


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

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


See you on Monday with the letter O.

Meanwhile I wish you all a great weekend.

Thank you also for your constant support as I plow my way through the alphabet, one letter after another.



  1. Interesting that it’s a masculine noun for such a feminine garment – but also the link to neglect, which is not what I’d expect of someone wearing one 🙂

    • The gender for the French nouns is tricky. My son found that (still finds it) especially confusing. As a boy he expected all nouns to be masculine when he used them, while his sisters should have used the feminine version. Unfortunately it’s not as easy.
      In the case of a négligée I found it interesting that it also means neglected in France.
      Language is fascinating, isn’t it? Thank you anyway, Andrea, for another kind visit.

  2. Also found the neglect connotation strange. –Curt

    • And it’s probably the meaning that is the most used in comparaison to the lingerie piece of clothing. I’d like my fellow French readers to confirm. There was a song in the late 80s that showcased the name. You can check it on the web. It’s called C’est la Ouate, from Caroline Loeb. If you read a bit of French you can check the lyrics, too. She talks of a négligé de soie (made out of silk). But when I lived in France I rarely said it. Maybe I was too young to wear any!

  3. Interesting — I hadn’t noticed the difference in spelling, and would likely had to have looked them up to know, or to use either spelling appropriately. I know both words, and both meanings in context, but not as clearly as you do! In addition to having trouble with verb tenses, I struggle sometimes with less-used feminine or masculine nouns. Some I remember easily, but others, I struggle. Also, when to feminize my own. It’s hard, even after years and years. I wish I got more practice. I’m glad for my French speaking friends, that’s for sure!

    • French isn’t the easiest language. The two genders for nouns make it more complex than English, especially because there is no logic behind. Also the pronouns can be tricky. My kids had a hard time with them when I taught them the grammar. This is when I realized how everything was complicated.
      The verb Négliger has also the meaning of neglecting people for example, or a friendship.
      I could say, “Cette famille néglige ses enfants,” if I want to say that a family doesn’t take good care of their kids.
      I don’t want to be a teacher here, so I limit my posts.
      Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting.

  4. I would not have expected the “neglect” meaning. I’m guessing that could lead to some awkward moments.

    • Ha ha! Not knowing the meaning of a word or an expression led me to funny and awkward moments, too. No worry. This is how we learn, right? Thank you anyway, Dan.

  5. Hello from A to Z, Evelyne. I always associated the word with a fancy nightgown, not someone who neglects their appearance. The contrasts between both definitions are quite interesting.

    • Thanks, Cynthia. Yes, it’s surprising. That’s what I found interesting when I decided to do this challenge. The same words (even with a slight different spelling) can have different meanings, or at least additional meanings. Thanks again for stopping by.

  6. Well, however it is spelled or pronounced it is always nice to wear a little negligee.

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