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English words of French origin



By Wikipedia,
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_English_words_of_French_origin






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Great number of words of French origin have entered the English language to the extent that around 30% of its vocabulary is of French origin. It is via French that many Latin words have come to the English language. Most of the French vocabulary now appearing in English was imported over the centuries following the Norman Conquest of 1066, when England came under the administration of Norman-speaking peoples. According to different sources, between one third and two thirds of all English words have a French origin. This fact suggests that at least 30,000 words should appear in this list (however the following list only contains about 1,600 words).

Many non-Latin Germanic words have also entered English from the Germanic element in French. Since English is of Germanic origin, via the influences apparent in modern Dutch, ascertaining whether a given Germanic word is definitely from French can be difficult in a few cases.

There is a language game that consists in converting French-origin words into Germanic-origin words to make the English language seem purer. Hence, rock becomes stone and pure becomes white. See List of Germanic and Latinate equivalents.

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Many English words imported from French that start with a "w" have a "g" in French. This is because in old French the "g" was pronounced as a modern "w".

  • wage (Old Fr. gage)
  • wager, from gager.
  • war, from guerre.
  • wardrobe, from Garde-Robe, meaning the keep a dress, or clothes.
  • warrant, from garantie.
  • waste (Old Fr. wast, compare vast)
  • Wisconsin, from Ouisconsin, a French variant of a Native American word

See also

 

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Published - January 2009


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