French Charades - Way Freaking Cool French Sayings

by Tash

Seeing that charades originated in France we've added a few of these French phrases that are commonly used in English to our charades night - it was freaking funny to say the least. I will tell you later on in the page how we managed this!

À la carte
On the menu, with each dish priced.

À la mode
Fashionable; also, in the USA, with ice cream.

An aid to memory.

Socializing after a skiing session. Also a name of a type of footwear worn after removing ski boots.

Art déco
'Decorative art' - a style of art originating in Paris in the early 20th century. An eclectic and glamourous artform, taking in aspects of Cubism and geometric industrial design.

Art nouveau
'New art' - a style of art developed towards the end of the 19th century. It is characterized by ornamentation based on organic or foliate forms and by its asymmetric and curvaceous lines.

Au contraire
To the contrary. Often used with an arch or rather camp form of delivery.

Au pair
A young foreigner, usually female, who undertakes domestic tasks in exchange for accommodation.

Au revoir
Farewell for the time being. Sometimes given in English in the jokey au reservoir version.

Avant garde
The pioneers or innovators in art in a particular period. Also, a military term, meaning vanguard or advance guard.

Bon appétit
'Good appetite' - "Enjoy your food".

Bon voyage
Have a good trip.

Café au lait
Coffee with milk.

Carte blanche
Having free rein to choose whatever course of action you want.

Chaise longue
'Long chair' - a form of sofa with an elongated seat long enough to support the legs. Often erroneously called a chaise lounge in the USA. This isn't the derivation of either the noun or verb lounge, which both long pre-date the invention of chaise longues.

Cinéma vérité
A form of filmmaking that combines documentary-style techniques to tell a story.

Cordon bleu
High quality, especially of cooking.
Cordon sanitaire A political or medical buffer zone.

Coup d'état
An abrupt overthrow of a government through unconstitutional means, for example, by force, or by occupation of government structures during the leader's absence.

Coup de grâce
Originally a blow by which one condemned or mortally wounded is 'put out of his misery'. Figuratively, a finishing stroke, one that settles or puts an end to something.

Crème brûlée
'Burnt cream' - baked custard with a carmelized crust

Crème caramel
A flan. A custard dessert with a layer or caramel on top.

Crème de la crème
The best of the best. Literally the cream of the cream.

Déjà vu
The feeling of having seen or experienced something before. Literally 'already seen'.

De rigueur
Obligatory or expected, especially with reference to fashion.

Double entendre
A word or phrase that has a double meaning - one of which is often vulgar or sexual in nature. A staple form of British toilet humour - Carry On films would be virtually silent without it; for example, see 'gone for a P' in wee-wee.

Du jour 'Of the day'
As in 'soup du jour' ('soup of the day').

Éminence grise
A powerful adviser or decision-maker who operates secretly or unofficially. Literally 'grey eminence'.

En suite
Part of a set, especially a series of rooms that adjoin each other forming a suite.

Faux pas
A social blunder, causing embarrassment or loss of reputation. Literally, a 'false step'.

Fleur de Lis
The heraldic lily; a device supposed by some to have originally represented an iris, by others the top of a sceptre, of a battle-axe or other weapon.

Force majeure
Irresistible force or overwhelming power.

Grand prix
The premier events of several sports, especially the races in the Formula I motor racing championship. Literally, 'grand prize'.

Haute couture
'High sewing' - trend-setting high fashion. Also, the collective name for the leading dressmakers and designers.

Haute cuisine
High class cooking. Literally, 'upper kitchen'.

Hors d'oeuvres
An extra dish served as a relish to whet the appetite, normally at the start of a meal.

Je ne sais quoi
An indescribable or inexpressible something. Literally, 'I know not what'.

Joie de vivre
A feeling of healthy enjoyment of life; exuberance, high spirits.

Mardi gras
The last day of the Carnival or pre-Lenten season. Literally, 'Fat Tuesday', called Shrove Tuesday in the UK.

Ménage à trois
'Household of three' - three people in a sexual relationship.

Merci beaucoup
Thank you very much.

Nom de plume
An assumed name under which a person writes or publishes. Literally, 'pen name'.

Papier mâché. A material used for scultural artwork and craftwork. Literally 'mashed paper'.

Par excellence
Pre-eminently supreme - above all others.

Pas de deux
Impossible to avoid the corny 'father of twins' joke here. The real meaning is a dance (typically a ballet), and in extended use a partnership, between two people.

Petit four.
A small dessert - usually a dainty cake.

Petit mal.
'Small illness' - a mild epilepsy.

Petit point.
Small stitching, used in needlepoint.

A second home, typically an apartment in the city.

Ready-to-wear clothing.

A mixture of dried petals of different flowers mixed with spices, kept in a jar for its perfume. Also, a stew made from a variety of meats cooked together. By extension, any collection of miscellaneous items.

Quelle horreur
What a horrible thing. This is frequently used sardonically, when the 'horror' is trivial.

Qu'est-ce que c'est?
What is this?

Raison d'être
The thing that is central to our existence. Literally, 'reason for being'.

Please respond (to my message). Literally the abbreviation of 'Répondez, s'il vous plaît'.

Sacré bleu
This general mild exclamation of shock is the archetypal French phrase, as viewed by the English. No portrayal of a stage Frenchman in an English farce could be complete without a character in a beret and striped jumper, shrugging his shoulders and muttering 'Sacré bleu!'. Literally, 'holy blue', which refers to the colour associated with the Virgin Mary.

Coolness, indifference. Literally, 'cold blood'.

Social grace; means know-how in French.

S'il vous plaît
Please. Literally, 'if it pleases you'.

Soupe du jour
'Soup of the day' - the soup offered by a restaurant that day.

Table d'hôte
A full-course meal offering a limited number of choices and served at a fixed price in a restaurant or hotel.

A private meeting between two people. Literally, 'head-to-head'.

Tout de suite
At once.

Tour de force
A masterly stroke or feat of strength or skill. Literally, 'feat of strength'.

In a position facing another. Literally 'face to face'. Often now used in the sense of 'in relation to'.

Vive la différence
Long live the difference (between male and female).

A small, light savoury pastry. Literally 'flight of the wind'.

Zut alors
A general exclamation. Like Sacré bleu, this is more likely to be spoken by pretend Frenchmen than by real ones.

Charades Clues and Gestures For This:

Off course we had to come up with charades clues that explained to our fellow partners in crime what language it was:

It went like this:
We would use one hand to make a yap-yap signal to the one ear - indicating other language. Then use the other hand to indicate a blank in front of the face by signaling a flat hand from top to bottom in front of the face - signaling we don't understand or speak this language. Then we would do the "magnificent" signal bringing thumb and index finger together and raising the other three fingers on the hand - signaling FRENCH or of fine taste! To explain the words we went solely on "sounds like" - pointing to the ear lobe with the index finger and explaining a word that sounds like that part, this was the funny part!

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Thanks so much for the tips
by: Natalia

Thanks so much for the tips below the words! That helped a great deal since non of us understand French but it was very funny to play and the pronunciations were hilarious.

Difficult Charades Words - Way Cool
by: Fun Stuff To Do

Thanks Tash, you have the best charades ideas ever!

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