Posted by: Jack Henry | December 12, 2013

Editor’s Corner: Three French Hens (Pierre, Thierry, & Jacques)

Bonjour! On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: three French hens. And at this point I started wondering, “What is it with this guy and birds?” In honor of French hens, today we are going to look at some French words we have adopted into English. Here are 10 of a list of 20 from

1. cachet (“seal”): originally, a seal or mark of approval; now, also (and primarily) used in a figurative sense meaning “prestige”

2. détente (“relaxation”): an easing of political tensions; specifically, the thawing of the Cold War during the 1970s

3. élan (“rush, impetus”): high spirit or enthusiasm

4. fête (“feast, festival”): a celebration, or to celebrate

5. haute couture (“high fashion”): High-quality custom tailoring, referring either to specific garments or to the industry; sometimes called simply couture

6. malaise (“discomfort”): a feeling of poor mental or physical health, or a sense of cultural unease

7. panache (“small wing,” from Latin through Italian): flair or flamboyance

8. patois (“native or local speech”): a nonstandard dialect, especially the speech of uneducated or provincial speakers, or a jargon

9. raconteur (“one who recounts”): a storyteller, or anyone skilled at relating anecdotes

10. savant (“one who knows,” from savoir, “to know”): a learned person, especially a specialist; also a shortening of “idiot savant,” a clinical term for a mentally disabled person with anomalous skill or ability in one area of learning, or a casual term for someone whose knowledge is almost exclusively in one subject

Kara Church

Senior Technical Editor

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

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