allô hello (as in calling on the phone, or getting attention in a conversation). This French word is from English hello, more likely from its early variant hallo, without pronouncing h.

mandat mandate (n.) (cognate), official command; money order; term of office. To remember “term of office”, imagine the government official constantly issues administrative mandates in his term.

machin thingy, whatcha-ma-call-it, thingamabob. Short from machine.

gâter to spoil (a child), to pamper; (reflexive) (said of food) to go bad. Cognate with waste and note the change of as to â in history. Although the initial letter especially consonant rarely changed from Latin to French, the change of w to g (which primarily happened in Parisian France) is an exception, which is the source of French garantie but English warrant, French gardien but English warden, etc. If you prefer a mnemonic and know gâteau or in English gateau (“cake”), think of “A party pooper spoiled the gateau at the party.” See also gâcher (“to spoil”, “to mess up”).

claque slap (n.), gifle; a group of people hired to applaud or boo at a show. The word in the second sense has entered English vocabulary. Cognate with clack (clacking sound). Clapping hands as in an applause makes such sounds.

abuser to do or use too much, to go too far, to be excessive (at); to take advantage of (someone), to exploit; to abuse (cognate), to misuse; to mislead. The first two meanings are relatively common. Think of using too much of something as one bad way of using something.

lambeau shred (n.), scrap, rag. Cognate with label, lap (originally “loose part of a coat or garment”, but now “front upper part of leg when sitting”). A label is likened to a scrap. Alternatively, use a mnemonic such as “an amazing video clip of a Lamborghini literally shredded into pieces in a crash”.

jouissance enjoyment. From jouir (“to enjoy”). See also jouir (“to enjoy”).

gerbe bouquet (of flowers), bundle, sheaf (of grain). Etymology doesn’t help. Use a mnemonic such as “Gerber baby food for the bundle of joy”.

fourchette fork (utensil) (n.) (cognate). Pretend to pronounce ch as k (as in Christmas) to remember this word. Suffix -ette means “little”. See also fourche (“garden fork”, “pitchfork”).

chandail sweater, jumper. Use a mnemonic such as “a Chanel sweater”. The word is a contraction from marchand d’ail (“garlic-seller”), referring to the sweater worn by the merchants in a food market in Paris.

tricot knitting; knitwear. tricoter to knit. This word has entered English vocabulary. Etymology hardly helps; it’s cognate with strike. Use a mnemonic such as “Knitting is tricky” or “to knit a pattern of a tri-color French flag”.

scolaire of school (adj.). Cognate with school. This word does not mean “scholar”, which would be savant or érudit in French.

nain dwarf. Cognate with prefix nano- as in nanometer, nanotechnology. Nano- means “very small”, or scientifically, “one billionth”. From Latin nanus, where -anus changed to -ain, just as Latin humanus changed to humain among other examples.

fosse pit (hole in the ground), hole; grave. Related to fossile (“fossil”), from which English fossil is derived. This word is fem. and should not be confused with the etymologically related fossé (“ditch”, masc.). To help remember which is which, as a mnemonic, note the one-syllable word fosse denotes a pit or hole which is a dot while the two-syllable word fossé a ditch which is a line. See also fossé.

croupe rump or buttocks of a horse. Cognate with croup (the same sense, not in the sense of “infection of the larynx and windpipe”). See also accroupir (“to crouch”, “to bend down”).

enseigne shop sign; conjugated form of enseigner (“to teach”). The root is cognate with sign, signal.

affaler (reflexive) to drop, to sink, to slump, to slouch. The root is cognate with fall (as in fall down).

recroqueviller to curl up, to cower. The root, cognate with crook (“bend”, “turn”), is probably from croc (“hook”). See also accrocher (“to hook”, “to hang”).

feutre felt (n.) (cognate); felt-tip pen. Also cognate with filter. Felt makes a good filter. Not to be confused with foutre.

flamber to flame (cognate), to burn. French flamboyant (literally “flaming”) has entered English vocabulary.

platane planetree, sycamore. From Latin platanus (a genus including species such as sycamore).

durcir to harden. Cognate with durable, with the root of endure.

éventail fan (hand-held wind-inducing device); range, array. The root is cognate with vent, ventilate. Prefix é- means “out”, while suffix -ail means “device”, “tool”. Unrelated to event.

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