✦ TOP 5: Funny French Words When Translated

✦ TOP 5: Funny French Words When Translated

By July 29, 2015 Top 5 No Comments

Welcome to the “TOP 5: Funny French Words.”

For this week, we are covering a few funny French words when translated word-by-word. Why do they sound like that? Well, that’s how French works.

#5   Eau de Source

Eau de source is commonly used on bottles of water in France. Cristaline being one of the major manufacturer of Eau de source in France, they claim that their water comes from natural sources such as underground reserves or mountain.

Where it gets funny is when we translated word-by-word “Eau de Source” It literary means ” water of the source.” If we have to translate to something that make sense, it would be “spring water.” The reason why it is funny is because the word “source” can have a lot of meaning; we aren’t too sure where this source comes from.

#4   Descente de lit

A complex word for rug. A “Descente de lit” is a rug specifically made for your bedroom to be placed next to your bed.

Originally created because somebody was sick of getting his feet cold when getting out of the bed, so the “Descente de lit” was born to counter that. The concept is great but the word cannot be exported to other languages without making sense.

When translated word-by-word, “Descente de lit” means “The Way down of the Bed” (Kind of, it is actually quite hard to translate.) Physically, it makes sense, vocabulary-wise it doesn’t.

#3   Femme de Chambre

What is a “Femme de Chambre” ? They are people who work in a hotel. Their job is to attend the needs of the resident’s rooms. To make it simple, they are cleaning the guest’s rooms. In English, we all know them as “housekeepers.”

Where it gets a little bit out of line is when we translate “Femme de Chambre” word-by-word; it will be “Women of the Room.” Today’s feminist will go crazy-coo-coo if the english language decides to use this term instead of “Housekeepers” which is unisex. The term “Femme de Chambre” implies that it is a women’s job only thus why it is funny (and sexist.)

#2  Eau de Toilette

The term “Eau de Toilette” is generally used by various brands like Bulgari, Chanel, Dior, Giorgio Armani, Hermes, Yves Saint Laurent, etc to describe the concentration of the fragrance.

We are so used to this word that we don’t really pay attention to it. If we translate it word-by-word (and forget the french vocabulary history), it will be “Water of the Toilet.” The funny part is that you are using Toilet water without realising; literally!

#1   Pomme de Terre

Potatoes; they are great; so great that the French decided to call them “Pomme de Terre” which stands for “Apple of the Earth” or “Apple of the Ground.” Isn’t that one hell of a title for such a veggie?

Most probably, the person that came to the conclusion that potatoes and apples look the same must have been quite drunk or he discovered vodka (which is made from potato, maybe that’s why.) In case you do not know, potatoes grows underground, unlike apples which grows on a tree. If apples grew underground, maybe Newton wouldn’t have discovered gravity.

Above nomination is based on personal point of view. Thank you for reading. 

This are just some of the few words that can be added to this list. Do you have any? Let us know!

Author Crystine Koh

I am a multi-disciplinary Professional Makeup Artist & Founder of Not A Makeup Blog. I am from Malaysia but currently living in France. I’ve graduated in multiple fields of studies (Sales, Management & MUA) back in Asia. I’ve worked for L’oreal and Giorgio Armani as a Beauty Advisor & Makeup Artists in Singapore before moving to France.

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