from pp. 266-268
zut (interj.) damn, shoot, heck. Probably an onomatopoeia. There doesn’t seem to be any convincing argument on not just the origin of this language-specific interjection but why. It may be better to use English Shoot! as a mnemonic.
persienne window shutter, blind, louver. Cognate with Persia, Persian. Window blinds were introduced into Europe from Persia. When they reached Venice, Venetian blinds were created.
agrément approval, authorization; consent; pleasure, amusement, pleasantness, charm. In the first sense, think of this word as a simple noun of the action “to agree”. The second sense, as in voyage d’agrément (“pleasure trip”), is that in English agreeable, and confers the verb agrémenter (“to embellish”, literally “to make charming”). In either case, avoid confusing the word with English agreement, which would be accord, contrat, pacte in French.
façonner to shape, to fashion (cognate), to form, to make. See also façon (“way”, “fashion”).
mamelon nipple. From mamelle (“mammary gland”, “breast”, “udder”) + -on (diminutive suffix). The root is cognate with mamma, mama, mammal.
pare-brise windshield. From parer (“to parry”, “to ward off”, “to deflect”) + brise (“breeze”). A windshield sure can deflect a breeze.
charogne carrion (cognate), decaying flesh of dead animals, carcasses. Also cognate with carnage, doublet with carne (“meat”), chair (“flesh”). Change cha- to ca- to see the cognation. See als chair.
caniveau street gutter (depression running along a road to collect rainwater and divert it to a storm drain). Unknown origin. Possibly cognate with canal, channel according to one theory. False friend of English carnival (French carnaval). Note the street gutter is different from the gutter on a house, which would be gouttière in French.
broussaille brushwood, undergrowth. From brosse (“brush”) + -aille (suffix with pejorative sense). The root is cognate with brush, doublet with brousse (“bush”). See also brosse, brousse.
faste pomp, splendor, ostentation; auspicious, lucky. Cognate with the first element of fastidious (“very picky and hard to please”). From Latin fastus (“haughtiness”, “disdain of others”). A fastidious person is likely to be pompous or affectedly grand. Unrelated to English fast (either vite or jeûner in French depending on the meaning).
inhabituel unusual, uncustomary. Since habituel means “usual”, “customary”, “habitual”, this word with the in- prefix means exactly the opposite. Just don’t confuse it with English inhabit (which would be habiter in French) or its related words. The key to remember is that English prefix in- here means “in”, “within”, “inside” while French in- signifies negation. Thus, for instance, English inhabitable is French habitable, English uninhabitable is French inhabitable.
arche arch (cognate); ark (cognate). This word is easy but note the two unrelated senses merged in one form, while in English they are separate.
flambeau torch, torche. Cognate with flame, flamboyant. See also flamber (“to flame”, “to burn”).
store blind (of window). Etymology is unhelpful and remote. Use a mnemonic such as “a store of window blinds”. Note English store is a false friend and is etymologically unrelated.
trimbaler to drag, to lug. Possibly cognate with tribulation (“suffering”), tribulate. As a mnemonic, think of a tired and sick man in tribulation dragging himself along. Or think of a tram dragging a ball.
lorgner to ogle, to leer. The derived word lorgnette (“opera glass with one handle”) has entered English vocabulary. Etymology does not help. Use lunettes (“goggles”; “sunglasses”) as a mnemonic. You may also use ogle, and imagine the initial l is dropped as if it was the definite article on a noun and pronounce gn like g plus l distinctly.
chaume thatch. Cognate with calamus (“sweet flag”, a type of wetland plant). Alternatively, use chaud (“hot”) as a mnemonic and imagine a thatched roof keeps the house cool in summer due to good insulation provided by the air pockets in the straw thatch. Or think of thatch as chow mein (Chinese stir-fried noodles).
cachot dungeon. From cacher (“to hide” ) + -ot (diminutive suffix). A dungeon is a prison deeply hidden from ordinary view.
jonc rush, reed, cane. Probably cognate with junk (originally referring to old useless ropes). Alternatively, use jungle as a mnemonic. Note: as in tronc (“trunk”), c is silent, unlike that in donc.
caissier cashier. English cashier is from this word, which is from caisse (“box”, “case”) + -ier. Also, English cash is derived from French caisse. See also caisse.
To sample miscellaneous
Back to sample page 7 To Homepage