Self Improvement Planet
A group of friends speaking French.

5 Common French Words and Phrases Used

If you’re learning French, you’re in for a sweet treat! The French language is warm, melodious, and extremely popular. Spoken by over 80 million people across the globe, this is the official language of 29 countries, including Switzerland, Belgium, and Canada! Although French is known for its uniqueness, you’ll encounter various words and phrases that might sound rather familiar. Ever wondered where the word “souvenir” came from? Well, voilà, here’s a list of French words that commonly used in English vocabulary

1.    Déjà Vu 

Whether it’s movies, songs, novels, or just general conversation, many English speakers often use the word déjà vu to describe a situation that may haven’t occurred. 

Loosely translated as “Already seen,” this is when you get a weird feeling seeing an instance before, or reliving the past.

2.    Potpourri

When translated, the word simply means “putrid pot”. In France, the locals used to use fried flowers and herbs to get rid of odors. This is why they’re a staple in many French and American households.


A jar of potpourri

3.    Encore

If you’ve been to a concert or a show, you’ll hear the crowd shouting “EncoreEncore!”. This is often when the performance is so good that the crowd wants them to repeat it. It translated to “another” and simply means once more!


4.    Façade

Another word that has subtly entered our conversations is Façade. In the U.S., many consider it as a fancy version of the word fake, or someone who’s hiding their true personality.

e.g., “She’s putting on a façade”.

When translated, this simply means face, but in French, this is taken figuratively.

5.    R.S.V.P

As American as this may seem, R.S.V.P is yet again, a French word. You’ve probably seen this on the bottom of wedding invites, birthday invites, and other events, but did you ever wonder what this stands for?

Well, in French, it’s Répondez S’il Vous Plaît, and “Respond If You Please,” in English! See, we weren’t kidding when we said you speak more French than you’d expect!


Learning French can be extremely beneficial and help you connect with different people across the globe. If you’re looking for quality foreign language instruction online, then Ciao Languages is your go-to place! They’ve been in the industry for years and have a stellar reputation. They offer Italian lessons, German courses, French lessons, Spanish, and even Arabic.

From assessments, live online lessons, native-speaking language coaches, digital and non-digital content, and feedback, they offer a complete package! Get in touch with them to learn more today!




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