French Phrases



The English meanings are not necessarily literal translations.

a bas - down, down with
a compte - on account, in part payment
a demi - by halves, half
a deux - of two, between two, two-handed
a haute voix - aloud
a jamais - for ever

a la bonne heure - in good time, all right, as you please
a la mode - in fashion
a la mort - to the death
allez vous en! - away with you!
a propos de rien - apropos of nothing
a tout prix - at any price
au contraire - on the contrary
au courant - up-to-date
au fait - well acquainted with, expert
au fond - at bottom
au revoir - goodbye, till we meet again
a volonte - at pleasure
beau monde - the world of fashion, high society
bete noire - a bugbear, your favourite hate
bien entendu - of course, to be sure
bon diable - good-natured fellow
bon gout - good taste
bon mot - a witty saying
bon ton - the height of fashion
bon vivant - one who lives luxuriously and enjoys good food and drink
bon voyage - a good journey to you!
comme il faut - as it should be, correct
compte rendu - an account rendered
carte blanche - unrestricted power to act on one's own
cause celebre - a widely known controversial case or issue
coup de grace - finishing blow
coup d'etat - a sudden decisive blow in politics
coute que coute - cost what it may
crème de la crème - cream of the cream, the very best


Ynt: French Phrases

de rigueur - compulsory, indispensable
double entendre - a double meaning, a play on words
en avant - forward!
en deshabille - in undress
en famille - with one's family
enfant terrible - a terrible child, a little terror
en fete - festive, keeping holiday
en rapport - in agreement, in sympathy with
en regle - in order, according to rules
en route - on the way
fait accompli - a thing already done
faute de mieux - for want of a better alternative
faux pas - a false step, a slip in behaviour
force majeure - superior power, a force one cannot resist
homme d'affaires - a man of business
homme du monde - a man of the world
idée fixe - a fixed idea
je ne sais quoi - I know not what; an elusive quality
mal a propos - ill-timed
nom de guerre - pseudonym
nom de plume - pen name
nouveaux riches - persons who have only recently become rich, upstarts
par excellence - eminently, by way of ideal
sans souci - without care
savoir faire - the ability to say and do the correct thing
tete-a-tete - a private interview, a confidential conversation
vis-à-vis - opposite
vogue la galere - come what may!