from pp. 82-83

adresse address (of a place) (cognate); adroitness (cognate), skill. Note the second meaning, which English address obviously does not have. English adroit is from French. An important source of French oi is Latin e. See also maladresse (“clumsiness”).

emplir to fill. Cognate with implement. The root part -plir is cognate with plenary (“fully attended”, said of a meeting). English implement originally meant “to supply a want”, “to fill up a need”. This word is more literary and less used than remplir (“to fill”). Not to be confused with English employ (French employer). If you use empty as a mnemonic, remember to reverse the meaning. See also remplir.

os bone. Cognate with ossify (“to turn into bone”), ossuary (“container of dead persons’ bones”), with the prefix of osteo-arthritis, osteo-porosis. Note the plural of os is still os, but s is pronounced /s/ in singular and silent in plural.

pente slope. Cognate with pending (literally “hanging”), with the root of suspend, depend, append. The sense of the original Latin word somehow changed from “to hang” to “to lean”, “to tilt” (as in penchant), hence the French meaning “slope”.

août August (cognate). Sometimes medial (in-word) g was lost going from Latin to French, just as in Latin ligare (hence English ligament) > French lier (“to link”), leger (hence English legible) > lire (“to read”).

jupe skirt. Arabic origin. But jumper, called “sweater” in the US, may be related.

réclamer to demand, to call for, to claim, to protest, to complain. Cognate with reclaim. In spite of the cognation, this word is not quite the same as English reclaim, which may be translated as récupérer. The root -clamer literally means “to shout” while - is an intensifier. This word literally means “to shout strongly or loud”, as in calling to someone in demanding something.

talon heel (of foot or shoe). Cognate with talon (“claw”). Think of the sharp heel of a high-heel shoe as the sharp claw of an animal.

dossier file, record; dossier; back of chair. Cognate with dorsal, with the root of endorse. Hence the meaning of “back of something such as a chair”. The sense of “file” or “bundle of papers” is due to labels on their back. English dossier is from this word.

débarrasser to get rid of, to clear. The root is cognate with bar. Literally, this word means “to remove (-) a bar”.

muet mute (cognate). Note that mute does exist in French, as a conjugated form of muter (“to mutate”), unrelated to muet.

lutter to fight. lutte fight (n.). Cognate with the root of reluctant, which has an obsolete meaning of “to struggle against”. As a mnemonic, imagine the scene of loot, where the looters fight each other for treasures.

moral morale (n.) (cognate); moral (adj.). This word looks easy but note that as a noun, it means “morale” (“team members’ spirit”), not “moral” (in the sense of “morality”, “ethics”), which, confusingly, would be morale in French. In short, when used as nouns, moral and morale are switched between English and French to match their meanings. See also morale.

clé, clef key. Cognate with clef (“a key symbol in music staff”), clavier (“keyboard instrument”), clave (“a percussion instrument”), with the first element of clavichord (“an early keyboard instrument”), with the root of conclave (“a closed-door meeting in a secret place which you have to enter with a key”). These two words and their plurals are homophones (are pronounced the same); letter f in French clef is silent.

chagrin sorrow, grief, sadness, unhappiness. Note that while English chagrin is from French, it means “distress due to failure, disgrace, embarrassment, etc.”. The French word does not imply humiliation or disgrace and refers to a mental state not necessarily related to a specific event.

mordre to bite. English mordant (“biting”) is from French mordant.

voile veil (masc. n.) (cognate); sail, sailing (fem. n.). voiler to veil, to cover. From Latin velum; Latin long e often changed to oi in French. Voile in its first sense has entered English vocabulary (“thin, translucent fabric”). Not to be confused with veille (“eve”; “vigil”). To explain the gender-meaning differences: voile meaning “sail” went through vela, plural of velum (just like curricula for curriculum), the -a ending probably making the French word more prone to be feminine. If a mnemonic is needed for the gender, consider a sail is bigger and thicker than a veil, but then you have to reverse the thinking.

coûter cost (cognate). Medial (in-word) s in st often disappeared in the development of French, and the preceding vowel was accented with a diacritic mark.

To sample page 4
Back to sample page 2 To Homepage