Definition of French in English:

French

adjective

  • Relating to France or its people or language.

    ‘the French government’
    ‘her accent is very French’
    • ‘Nantes, the capital, is consistently voted the best place to live in France by the French media.’
    • ‘He was more likely to be a close reader of one of the several French translations of Ovid which were available to him.’
    • ‘The following answers are as translated from the French account of what she said.’
    • ‘Sembene himself was the son of a fisherman and self-educated into French literacy.’
    • ‘There are no subtitles in any language nor even French subtitles for the deaf or hard of hearing.’
    • ‘France and especially French girls held a special place in the imaginations of most British boys.’
    • ‘He wrote that a French judge was ready to launch an investigation into the slaying.’
    • ‘It's not now speaking about the French story, but the British story and our British friends.’
    • ‘The French didn't speak English and the English didn't even know the French word for pigeon.’
    • ‘The zoom allows you to spot a very large carp just above the bottom in a deep French reservoir of central France.’
    • ‘She appears undaunted at the prospect of facing the French media in their own language.’
    • ‘The most worrying thing is when I think of a French word before the English one, but that's quite rare.’
    • ‘When the leader lauds French hospitals and Swedish schools, they applaud on cue.’
    • ‘But why would a French girl feel so drawn to German literature in the first place?’
    • ‘The French ambassador wrote that Rogers died with such composure that it might have been a wedding.’
    • ‘For every one bottle of Cognac sold in France, French drinkers buy 10 bottles of whisky.’
    • ‘These high quality videos were produced with French actors on location in France so the speech and movements and contexts are authentic.’
    • ‘Piccinni directed an Italian troupe in Paris and wrote two French comedies.’
    • ‘Somewhat chastened, I resume the journey trying to recall some French swear words.’
    • ‘He entered the US on a one-year student visa and Ms Keene said he spoke with a heavy French accent.’

noun

  • 1mass noun The language of France, also used in parts of Belgium, Switzerland, and Canada, in several countries of northern and western Africa and the Caribbean, and elsewhere.

    ‘I am fluent in French’
    as modifier ‘French lessons’
    • ‘Oscar can speak fluent French, orders fancy food properly, and has a passion for Voltaire.’
    • ‘The French actors spoke French, the Italian actors spoke Italian and the boys spoke English.’
    • ‘Do you expect me to believe that in a place other than France people speak French?’
    • ‘The landlord speaks fluent French and right next door is a Breton seafood restaurant.’
    • ‘It was very exciting to eat French food, hear French being spoken and see the displays in the shops.’
    • ‘Many speak excellent English, but some will speak French as a first language.’
    • ‘He had a particular skill in languages, speaking French, Latin, Greek and even Hebrew.’
    • ‘The seating plan was drawn up using French, the traditional language of diplomacy.’
    • ‘She speaks fluent French and it is no surprise she was chosen for this particular wedding.’
    • ‘The word in French means sand, so it also refers to the cake's sandy-looking texture.’
    • ‘Huddled in a corner, the language was alternating between French, German and English.’
    • ‘His parents sent him to a Dutch language class even though he speaks French at home.’
    • ‘The six islands are named in Arabic, in the local Afar language, and in French.’
    • ‘I have noted elsewhere some examples of translations from French, Spanish and Italian.’
    • ‘Almost every one here speaks French, some do speak English, and a lot of the time you can find some one that speaks both.’
    • ‘As well as Gaelic, Scots and English, he wrote poems in French, Italian and Norwegian.’
    • ‘None of the inhabitants spoke French as a native tongue, and few understood it.’
    • ‘Morocco used to be colonised by France which explains why French is still spoken as a second language.’
    • ‘In any case, remember that you won't have to write or speak in French on either of these tests.’
    • ‘He'd worked in France and Italy, he speaks fluent French and he wanted an excuse to live and work in France again.’
  • 2as plural noun the FrenchThe people of France collectively.

    ‘the French, they say, live to eat’
    • ‘Even the Americans are less productive than the French for each hour worked.’
    • ‘Persuading the French to accept a downgrading of agriculture will involve high political skills.’
    • ‘Of all the saints venerated by the French in the nineteenth century, Mary was the most prominent.’
    • ‘Consider the effect of those two quotes on the the British, the Americans and the French.’
    • ‘But Pierce has finally delivered on all her promise and that should be enough even for the French.’
    • ‘It would be easy to give credit to the French for designing such a beautiful car.’
    • ‘There was certainly no trouble around the ground and the England fans were mingling with the French.’
    • ‘He spent a spell in the summer of 1830 in France studying the teaching methods used by the French.’
    • ‘The event itself is clearly global in its intent but it stubbornly remains the cultural property of the French.’
    • ‘But the Finns, like the French and Greeks and Irish and the rest of them are quite happy with the euro.’
    • ‘Put another way, the French and Germans have found a way of making the market serve everyone.’
    • ‘Indeed in the final analysis the British gained more than the French from the upheavals in Italy.’
    • ‘The single red flower is also used in hibiscus syrups, popularised by the French.’
    • ‘Overall, the French export more per capita than the Japanese and more than twice as much as the Americans.’
    • ‘To start with, the French erected monuments to their heroes lost in the struggle for Liberty in the city of Rome.’
    • ‘The Portuguese rival the French and Italians in terms of per capita wine consumption.’
    • ‘Almost from the time of European contact it was disputed by the British and the French.’
    • ‘For it was the French, rather than the British, who took the lead in organising sport as a global phenomenon.’
    • ‘Retired York history professor Norman Hampson first fell in love with the French during the war.’
    • ‘This city was under the French for a long time and the influence still hasn't worn off.’
  • 3

    short for French vermouth

French is the first or official language of over 200 million people and is widely used as a second language. It is a Romance language that developed from the Latin spoken in Gaul, the northern dialects coming to dominate after Paris became the capital in the 10th century. French became widely used owing to the cultural influence and colonial expansion of France from the 11th century, and it had a very great influence on English as the language of the Norman ruling class

Phrases

  • excuse (or pardon) my French

    • informal Used to apologize for swearing.

      • ‘And, pardon my French, you'll rest your tired keister at night in some of the Alps' most inviting resorts and inns.’
      • ‘Someone brought a guitar, too, and when I saw that, that's when I got the heck out of there, if you'll pardon my French.’
      • ‘The fact that the bill is bloody nonsense - excuse my French - should have no impact at all; we should just forget about it!’
      • ‘They wouldn't know an ulterior motive if it bit them on the rear end if you'll pardon my French.’
      • ‘You see, I don't know who sent these yet, because the chicken S.O.B., pardon my French, didn't have the guts to sign his name.’
      • ‘But pardon my French; Aidan was truly being a jackass in the ballroom.’
      • ‘So clearly the notion that it doesn't work is, if you'll pardon my French, a bunch of hooey.’

Origin

Old English Frencisc, of Germanic origin, from the base of Frank.

Pronunciation

French

/frɛn(t)ʃ/