Words I say in French when having an English Conversation

Some of these words these days, I struggle to say in English - it’s the French that comes to mind first. Some, like remorque, I never really used the word trailer, whereas a remorque is totally part of our lives. Same with the Mairie - never part of our lives in the UK. Here? Most important! And what, for heavens sake, would be the English equivalent of fauchage - hedging and ditching? Much too complicated!

Gilets Jaunes

I’m sure I’ve got others. What are yours?


Aperos- not much used at the minute though ! No English equivalent really .


For me, and I’ve been back in the UK for a few years now, the following come to mind:

Camping car - I know these are both English words but a camping car is called something else in English. Still don’t know what though!!
Buanderie - can’t get used to utility room.
Saucisson - does that even translate into an English word?

Izzy x




Pool ahoooose. We were taught how to say it by a neighbour.


…actually most electrical terms!
I’ll stop now.


Whatever’s that? :thinking::8ball:?

Oh Peter! A poolhouse. In French, according to our neighbour, it is a completely different word (although probably spelt the same way), and more like pooläooose - (with a dipthong). She wouldn’t accept our prononciation. But that happens! I have trouble with my Rs but she had trouble with her Hs. That’s life.

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Camper van. Motor home. The latter being those plastic cottages on wheels. The former an ex-commercial van in a constant process of becoming a camper van, as mine is.

Yeah! A salami-like product you find on the charcuterie stand! Or the delicatessen! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

In Carre4 I asked someone - a customer- in a round-about mangled fashion, what spot-remover is in FR [and if she knew where it was]. Trying to be helpful I gave her the words in Spanish I think of it in preference to English, ‘quita manchas’. She didn’t know the French for it! Maybe the French use ‘spot remover’.!

It is called détachant and if it is for stubborn splodges détachant anti-taches coriaces.
We have inarticulate people here too.

We wandered about till I spotted [sic] Vanish. I know what that is - and it is indeed, ‘détachant’! I like that - detaching bits of my meals I’ve thrown down my shirt …try as I might to avoid it, I always seem to get my dinner all over my shirt. Me and spag bol are like Jackson Pollack in action.

This could be the answer?!


Yes. However, knowing that meatballs in a rich and oleaginous tomato sauce is asking for red polka dots everywhere, last night I knocked up this, clothes peg to neck of T-shirt.


It did its job, tho’ I did notice a few small red dots on the keyboard and screen of my laptop, opposite.

Not as bad as recently up-ending a slice of toast, thick with Oxford Fine Cut, onto a keyboard. That took some careful cleaning.


Been back in the UK for 5 years now but I still have to look for the English word for
“caisse” and “déchèterie”.
I also had to write an “attestation” for a friend to be able to sign up to a GP. I found the easiest was to translate word for word what I would write if in France… “I , the undersigned, declare on my honour…”. Sounds weird in English.

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Tbe word that reverberates round my venerable skull to fit “caisse” is cashier. In my youth all medium sized retail businesses had a cashier who handled the money in any over-the-counter sales transaction.

Money passed from salesperson to cashier by means of metal tubular containers propelled by springloaded triggers along wires: and change and a written receipt made the return journey in the same fascinating and slightly alarming way.

I expect some older subscribers recall this antedeluvian procedure?

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Just encountered another one which took a moment to process into english…our previous daily walk

Rayon d’un kilometre…

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I do remember them. It was back in the days when you could take your dog into any shop. Ours would chase the canisters along the wires


There are still shops with a cashier in a small booth, off to one side. The butcher [in this case] passes a note with the purchases written up, complete with blood stains and the cashier turns that into something less gory. You pay and go back to the butcher for your parcel.

The butcher to the Glitterati, Litterati and Chattering Classe, Lidgate’s on Holland Park Ave, still uses this m.o.

The builder’s yard in the local Weldom worked like that (well, it possibly still does but its no longer a Weldom, it’s a Bricomarché now)

Unfortunately I went with a friend who speaks no French - he was happily taking off some bags of plaster to put in the van much to the agitation of the storeman (complete with Arkwright style brown overalls). Thankfully I managed to just about understand his directions (I wasn’t familiar with the routine either) and put a halt to proceedings and go and pay in the main store before the gendarmes were called :slight_smile:

Mind you all they did was stamp the chit Payeé with a stamp I could probably have got from a stationers so not quite sure how secure that was (no way for the storeman to see that I actually went into the store to pay).

It sounds a little silly but I am really happy that my son who is doing a metalworking apprentiship (chaudronnerie and I don’t know what that is in english) obviously learns the names of tools in french and struggles to know their names in english despite speaking english at home.

Similarly I always had a problem trying to help the kids do their geometry homework here in France because I struggled to get to grips with the terminology as well as the subject.

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