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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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!
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…!
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 🙂