All These Little French and American Words…


Welcome to the A to Z Challenge!

Today two words for the letter P

*One English word used in France and in the USA with a different meaning

*One French word used in France and in the USA with a different meaning




The English word Pressing is used in France to say Dry Cleaning. There is a direct translation for dry cleaning (nettoyage à sec). Most often, however, the French will say they go to the pressing to pick up their clean clothes.

Pressing est le participe présent du verbe To Press aux USA. L’équivalent du pressing français se dit dry cleaning aux USA.

On peut utiliser le verbe to press à la place de to iron pour repasser, mais c’est plus rare.

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Le mot francais passé est utilisé aux Etats Unis pour décrire quelque chose de démodé.

Passé means past, passed, or faded (for a color ) in French. Out of fashion is passé de mode in French.



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


See you tomorrow with the letter Q




  1. I wonder, just out of curiosity, do dry cleaners nettoyient a sec, or do they faisent le pressing?
    I do the ironing, but not the pressing. I admit I have two things to press. Even in English, we interchange them.

    • French dry cleaning stores, called pressings, do the same job than they do in the US. It’s only the name that differs. To iron is repasser in French. I never use press for this kind of job myself. But I’m not an expert. To be frank with you I’d rather clean my house than ironing. I press flowers or leaves, though. Between pages of books, that is! See you, Joey.

  2. I always thought of pressing as ironing by professionals. Certainly what I do would not be anything resembling “pressing.” But then, there are pressing (urgent) matters to be dealt with!

    • Pressing is professional ironing, I agree. I dislike ironing because like you I have more pressing things to do. Like pressing New England fall leaves between the pages of my books, so I’ll have them with me in the winter.

  3. As others have said, in relation to clothes, it would be ironing, so interesting that it has a quite different meaning – don’t think we have any alternative to ‘dry cleaning’.

    • Pressing has several meanings in English, professional ironing being one of them. I find it interesting that the French use it to designate their dry cleaning stores.
      Now to more pressing matters…
      Thank you, Andrea, for another visit.

  4. How about “parfait?” Until I learned a bit of French I just thought it was a layered ice cream dessert 🙂 Does anyone eat parfaits anymore? Or is this dessert a little “passé”? 😊 I am really loving your A to Z! Can you believe it is almost over???

  5. Right! Parfait are always perfect desserts for me. They have been created a long time ago but are still alive and kicking. Now days all sorts of layered desserts are called parfaits in the US and it’s quite alright with me. Thank you for supporting my challenge with your visits and also for your kind compliment. I love what you’re doing too. And I’m impressed by your French skills.

  6. Behind the Story says:

    My mom and grandma were serious seamstresses. They always had an ironing board nearby–not for ironing but for pressing. When you iron a pillowcase, you move the iron back and forth. When you press the seam of a dress or jacket that you’re in the process of making, you press the hot iron on the seam. Then you lift the iron and move it to another spot and press it down again. This way the seam will lay flat. Of course, the dry cleaners use a different method of pressing.

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