French Lessons: L

English - French Dictionary

laïcité
separation of the State and the different Churches (at first, it concerned especially Catholicism). In France, where the concept originated, it means an absence of religious interference in government affairs and government interference in religious affairs. But the concept is often assimilated and changed by other countries. For example, in Belgium, it usually means the secular-humanist movement and school of thought.

laissez-faire
“let do”; often used within the context of economic policy or political philosophy, meaning leaving alone, or non-interference. The phrase is the shortcut of Laissez faire, laissez passer, a doctrine first supported by the Physiocrats in the 18th century. The motto was invented by Vincent de Gournay, and it became popular among supporters of free-trade and economic liberalism. It is also used to describe a parental style in developmental psychology, where the parent(s) does not apply rules or guiding.

laissez-passer
a travel document, a passport

lamé
a type of fabric woven or knit with metallic yarns

lanterne rouge
the last-place finisher in a cycling stage race; most commonly used in connection with the Tour de France

layette
a set of clothing and accessories for a new baby

liaison
a close relationship or connection; an affair. The French meaning is broader; “liaison” also means bond such as in “une liaison chimique” (a chemical bond)

Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité
“Liberty, Equality/Egality, Brotherhood” (motto of the French Republic)

littérateur
an intellectual (can be pejorative in French, meaning someone who writes a lot but does not have a particular skill)

louche
of questionable taste

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