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Ten 'untranslatable' French words translated

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Ten 'untranslatable' French words translated
Some words in French are just not translatable. Photo: Dylan Cantwell/AFP
14:30 CEST+02:00
French is a difficult language for us expats to learn and if the grammar rules, false friends and tongue-twisting pronunciations weren't taxing enough, things are complicated further by a number of words and expressions that are 'untranslatable'. Here are ten to look out for, along with our interpretations.

Have you ever read a French word and struggled for what seemed like an eternity to come up with the English translation, before giving up in frustration? Well you're not alone and perhaps you were not to blame.

The simple fact is that French is home to many words and phrases that just don't translate easily into English, if at all.

This is naturally of no concern to the French themselves, who happily go on using them, so we thought it was important to highlight a few of the most common and offer up some translations.

This list (click below) is just to get the ball rolling. Help us build it up by sending in your own suggestions for 'untranslatable' French words and we will add them in. 

Ten 'untranslatable' French words in English

by Naomi Firsht

What words have we missed? Help us build up this list by sending in your own suggestions for 'untranslatable' French words and we will add them in.  Either use the comments section below or email us at

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