Writing about Paris means that I read a lot of books in both English and French and I’m constantly coming across words that I don’t know. I’m usually unaware that I don’t know the word until I see it. Words like ‘stiletto’ and ‘tomcat’ are ones that I take for granted in English – it’s only when you’re stuttering to explain the high-heeled moggy you just saw that you get the ‘oh my God, my vocab’s so bad’ sweats.
So, here are the 10 best words that I have learned this week:
La poiscalle (n) – a slang word for fish
Grelotter (v) – to shiver (from fear or cold)
Fugace (adj) – ephemeral / momentary / fleeting
Le noyau (n) – fruit pit / nut kernel / a planet’s core / the nucleus of an atom
Balbutier (v) – to stutter / stammer / stumble over words
Un escarpin (n) – the heel of a woman’s shoe / high heel / stiletto
Un patelin (n) – a village/hamlet OR slang for a dump of a place/a godforsaken place
Une frimousse (n) – a smiley/emoticon OR a cute baby’s face (e.g. look at his little frimousse…)
Les tourtereaux (n) – young turtledoves OR (figurative) lovebirds
Trébucher (v) – to stumble/trip over
And if you were desperate to know the word for tomcat, it’s un matou.