Definition of French in US English:

French

adjective

  • Relating to France or its people or language.

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

noun

  • 1The Romance 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.

    • ‘As well as Gaelic, Scots and English, he wrote poems in French, Italian and Norwegian.’
    • ‘The landlord speaks fluent French and right next door is a Breton seafood restaurant.’
    • ‘The six islands are named in Arabic, in the local Afar language, and in French.’
    • ‘Huddled in a corner, the language was alternating between French, German and English.’
    • ‘None of the inhabitants spoke French as a native tongue, and few understood it.’
    • ‘It was very exciting to eat French food, hear French being spoken and see the displays in the shops.’
    • ‘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 word in French means sand, so it also refers to the cake's sandy-looking texture.’
    • ‘She speaks fluent French and it is no surprise she was chosen for this particular wedding.’
    • ‘Many speak excellent English, but some will speak French as a first language.’
    • ‘Almost every one here speaks French, some do speak English, and a lot of the time you can find some one that speaks both.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Oscar can speak fluent French, orders fancy food properly, and has a passion for Voltaire.’
    • ‘His parents sent him to a Dutch language class even though he speaks French at home.’
    • ‘He had a particular skill in languages, speaking French, Latin, Greek and even Hebrew.’
    • ‘He'd worked in France and Italy, he speaks fluent French and he wanted an excuse to live and work in France again.’
    • ‘The seating plan was drawn up using French, the traditional language of diplomacy.’
    • ‘I have noted elsewhere some examples of translations from French, Spanish and Italian.’
  • 2as plural noun the FrenchThe people of France collectively.

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

      • ‘But pardon my French; Aidan was truly being a jackass in the ballroom.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They wouldn't know an ulterior motive if it bit them on the rear end if you'll pardon my French.’
      • ‘And, pardon my French, you'll rest your tired keister at night in some of the Alps' most inviting resorts and inns.’
      • ‘The fact that the bill is bloody nonsense - excuse my French - should have no impact at all; we should just forget about it!’
      • ‘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//fren(t)SH/