French Lessons: M

English - French Dictionary

young unmarried lady, miss; literally “my noble young lady”

but (conjunction)

mais oui
“but of course!.” This is often used as a sarcastic reply in French, in order to close a debate by feigning agreement.


mal de mer
motion sickness, literally “seasickness”

a general sense of depression or unease

mange tout
another phrase describing ‘peas’ (literally: “Eat-all,” because some peas can be cooked and eaten with their pod.)

unfulfilled; failed

Mardi gras
Fat Tuesday, the last day of eating meat before Lent. Note that gras is not capitalised.

a model or brand

supplies and equipment, particularly in a military context (French meaning is broader and corresponds more to “hardware”)

mauvais quart d’heure
“bad quarter hour”: a short unpleasant or uncomfortable moment

a mixture

a confused fight; a struggling crowd

ménage à trois
“household for three”: a sexual arrangement between three people

merci beaucoup
“Thank you very much!”


merde alors
“Damn it!” (literally “shit then,” “well shit”). Vulgar; non-vulgar equivalent is “zut alors.”

job, profession, occupation; work, craft; calling, metier; trade, a field of work or other activity; usually one in which one has special ability or training

ambience, environment; medium, mean; middle, mid, social environment; setting (has also the meaning of “middle” in French)

a cooking mixture of two parts onions and one part each of celery and carrots

mise en place
an assembly of ingredients, usually set up in small bowls, used to facilitate cooking. This means all the raw ingredients are prepared and ready to go before cooking. Translated, “put in place.”

mise en scène
the process of setting a stage with regard to placement of actors, scenery, properties, etc.; the stage setting or scenery of a play; surroundings, environment

mise en table
table setting

“me”; often used in English as an ironic reply to an accusation; for example, “Pretentious? Moi?”

moi aussi
“me too,” used to show agreeing with someone

le moment suprême
“the supreme moment”; the climax in a series of events (for example at the unveiling of an art exhibition)

Mon ami
my friend (male) or ‘mon amie’: my friend (female)

Mon Dieu!
my God!

monsieur (pl. messieurs)
a man, a gentleman. Also used as a title, equivalent to Mr. or Sir.


le mot juste
“the just word”; the right word at the right time. French uses it often in the expression chercher le mot juste (to search for the right word)

a recurrent thematic element

a pursing together of the lips to indicate dissatisfaction, a pout

a whipped dessert or a hairstyling foam; in French, means any type of foam


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