Tuesday, May 31, 2011
French phrases in literature
Here are some often used French phrases and their meaning:
bete noir - literally means "black beast." It is used figuratively to refer to a person on think which is disliked on feared.
coup de grace - means the "finishing stroke," often the blow that ends a person's life.
faux pas - literally means "false step." It is usually used to mean social blunder.
en plein air - in the open air
espirit de corps - means spirit of the body. It is the common spirit existing in the members of a group and inspiring enthusiasm, devotion, and strong regard for the honor of the group
gauche - in French means "left, warped or clumsy;" however, in English it used to mean graceless, tactless, or socially awkward.
laissez-faire -a doctrine opposing governmental interference in economic affairs beyond the minimum necessary for the maintenance of peace and property rights
nom de plume - means name of the pen, but in English is it used to mean pseudonym or pen name.
nouveau riche -a person newly rich
roman a clef -a novel in which real persons or actual events figure under disguise
savoir faire - knowing what to do, a capacity for appropriate action; esp: a polished sureness in social behavior
"Internationally Used French Phrases."
Morris, William. Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins. New York: Harper and Row, 1988