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List of English words of French origin: Wikis

  
  

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A great number of words of French origin have entered the English language to the extent 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 (see also French words of Germanic origin). Since English is of Germanic origin, via the influences apparent in modern Dutch (or Frisian languages), 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 imported words beginning with "w" in English have cognates in French that start with a "g" or "gu". This is because the English word was not borrowed directly from French or Old French, but from other languages closely related to French, like Norman and Anglo-Norman, where the original "w" sound was preserved (the majority of these words are words of Germanic origin, and stem mainly from either the Frankish language, or other ancient Germanic languages, like Burgundian). In Old French, the initial "w" sound was prefixed by the letter "g" as "gw" and then the "w" sound was later lost. The "w" survives in orthography as "u" in "gu", but only to produce a hard "g" sound.

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

See also








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