Anglicism in French
French Language

Top 12 Anglicism in French (very tricky ones)

Nowadays, anglicism in French are more and more common. An anglicism is an English word used in another language (French here as you could have guessed :))People who can speak French and English sometimes don’t even make the effort to translate what they mean in French and this gave birth to a new language that we call Frenglish. But this is not what we are going to discuss here. In this article, I will list a number of French words that actually come from English, sound like English, exist in English but do not have the same meaning AT ALL in both languages.

Un baby-Foot

You would probably believe that we are here talking about a cute foot of a baby, you know the foot you wanna eat because of how adorable it is. Stop right here, no baby nor foot involved here, but foosball. Yes, un baby-foot is a table football in French. We probably see it as babies playing football

Une basket

That is a word that French people often use when speaking English thinking that the French word must have the same meaning as the English one but not at all! In French, une basket means a sneaker. So if you meet French people looking for a basket shop, they don’t want to buy a ball to play basket-ball but they are looking for a sneaker shop.

Un break

In the French language, un break is a type of car, a station wagon. I am not sure why we call this family-size car this, but this is the only word we have in French for it. We also use the word “break” just like in English : to have a break / faire une pause. In this case, this is the same definition.

Un brushing

While brushing in English comes from the verb to brush, in French it doesn’t have anything to do with it. In French, it actually means to blow-dry your hair to give it some volume. In other words, faire un brushing means to blow-dry your hair and style it at the same time.

Un footing

Faire un footing means to go jogging, to go for a run. Don’t know what we have with the word foot! We apparently use it quite often, but it is never the right sense.

Read also : The reason why French movies are not appreciated abroad and which movies to watch to change your mind

Un jogging

Well, you would expect that jogging finally has the same meaning as in English, but it is definitely not… Sorry! Un jogging in French means sweatpants. You know, the pants that you should wear for faire un footing but that you use to lie down on the sofa in reality.

⇮ Typical sweatpants situation ⇮

Un relooking

Relooking is typically a word that French people made up to sound like an English term. Yet I don’t even know if that one exists in English! (If you know the meaning of this word in English, please let me know in the comments) Un relooking is a makeover. It can also be a verb : relooker (to do a makeover for somebody) / se faire relooker (to have a makeover).

Un people

Un people in French means somebody who is famous. We even call the tabloïds des magazines people. When we talk about famous people, the French language mostly uses English words : people, star, VIP.

Un pressing

Un pressing means the dry cleaner in English. That is a funny one as I dont’ see the point of calling the dry cleaner’s place un pressing. In French, we have the verb “presser” which means to hurry or to squeeze, so this has nothing to do with it and in English “to press” means to push! I can’t see the connection here… If you see it, please comment!

Un smoking

You will never guess what this anglicism means in French! It absolutely has nothing to do with the actual fact of smoking a cigarette. Hint: you can wear it. Second hint: It’s fancy. Third hint: It’s mostly for men. Got it? Yes, un smoking is a tuxedo…!

Un sweat

This word is almost the same word as in English as it means a sweatshirt. It is not really about the word here, but more about its pronounciation. All French people pronounce it like this : “sweet” and not like “sweat“. So if someone wants a sweat (French pronounciation), don’t buy him/her a candy 🙂

I hope you enjoyed discovering these vocabulary differences. If you had fun reading this article, share it 🙂

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10 Comments

  • Laure

    Trop drôle ! C’est bon à savoir aussi pour les français si on dit à un anglophone qu’on met ses baskets et son jogging pour aller faire un footing on va avoir des grosses incompréhensions 😉 C’est incroyable tous ces termes qu’on a complétement dévoyés de leur sens !

  • freddie43079

    PRESS: to flatten out or smooth by bearing down upon especially by ironing. Although not used much today the terms “ironing” or “pressing” were used interchangeably. Also, the final step of dry cleaning is called “pressing,” Still, it seems somewhat strange that the French would use “un pressing” for dry cleaning.

  • Burger camille

    A croire qu’on ne dispose pas d’assez de mots dans la langue française, ceci dit je mets mes baskets et mon jogging tout les jours!!

  • isabelle

    Je me rends compte qu’en tant que Québécoise je n’ai pas le même défi au niveau des Anglicism in French. J’utilise aucun de ces mots et ce même si j’ai habité 5 ans en France .

    • Sabrina F.

      Ah oui! Très intéressant d’avoir ton retour, merci beaucoup 🙂 Effectivement étant donné que vous parlez mieux anglais, j’imagine que vos anglicismes sont de vrais anglicismes !

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