There are dozens of expressions in English which contain the word French... but are these things actually French? Take a look at this list with the French equivalents and the literal translations - you might be surprised.
This is a work in progress - after extensive research, I've been unable to find the French equivalents for a handful of terms. Where possible, I've provided definitions for these terms, so if you have any ideas about how to translate them into French, please let me know on the forum.
1. (cooking) to cut into thin strips, to trim fat (unknown translation)
2. (kissing) see French kiss, below
French bean - le haricot vert
French bed - le lit en portefeuille
bed that is wider than a twin bed but narrower than a double bed
French blue - bleu français
dark azure color
French boxing - la boxe française
French braid - la tresse française
(hair style) French plait in UK
French bread - la baguette
French bulldog - le bouledogue français
French cap - la bague chapeau
single spindle wood molding machine
French casement - la fenêtre à deux battants
French chalk - la craie de tailleur
literally, "tailor's chalk"
1. (cuisine) chop with the meat and fat trimmed from the end (unknown translation)
2. (juggling) tomahawk jeté de l'autre côté de la tête
French cleaners - le nettoyage à sec
literally, "dry cleaning"
French clock (unknown translation)
elaborately decorated French clock from the 18th century
French cricket (unknown translation)
informal type of cricket without stumps in which the batsman is out if the ball hits his/her legs
French cuff - le poignet mousquetaire
literally, "musketeer's cuff"
French curtain - le rideau à la française
French curve - le pistolet
French custard ice cream - la glace aux œufs
French cut underwear - sous-vêtements à la française
(lingerie) high-waisted style
French dip sandwich - un sandwich « French dip »
beef sandwich dipped into beef juice (called au jus)
French disease - la maladie anglaise
literally, "English disease." An old-fashioned term in both languages to refer to syphilis.
French door - la porte-fenêtre
French drain - la pierrée, le drain de pierres sèches
French dressing - la vinaigrette
Only in England does French dressing mean vinaigrette. In the US, French dressing refers to a sweet, tomato-based salad dressing that does not, as far as I know, exist in France.
French endive - la chicorée de Bruxelles, chicorée witloof
French eye needle - une aiguille à double chas
French fly - une braguette à bouton de rappel
hidden button inside fly of men's pants
French fry - la (pomme de terre) frite
literally, "fried potato." Note that French fries are actually Belgian
to French-fry - frire à la friteuse
literally, "to fry in the fryer"
French harp - un harmonica
This term is used in the southern US to refer to an instrument made of metal or glass strips attached to a frame and struck with a hammer.
French heel - le talon français
(women's shoes) a curved, high heel
French hen (unknown translation)
In the song "12 Days of Christmas" :-)
French horn - le cor d'harmonie
literally, "horn of harmonie"
French ice cream - see French custard ice cream, above
noun: un baiser avec la langue, un baiser profond, un baiser torride
verb: galocher, embrasser avec la langue
French knickers - la culotte-caleçon
French knitting - le tricotin
also called "spool knitting"
French knot - le point de nœud
literally, "knot point"
French lavender - la lavande à toupet
to take French leave - filer à l'anglaise (informal)
literally, "to split/take off the English way"
French lentils - les lentilles du Puy
literally, "lentils from (the French town of) Puy"
French letter - la capote anglaise (informal)
literally, "English condom"
French maid - la femme de chambre
French manicure - le French manucure
American-invented style of manicure, with light pink polish on the nail and white polish underneath
French marigold - un œillet d'Inde
literally, "Indian carnation"
French mustard - la moutarde douce
literally, "sweet mustard"
French onion dip (unknown translation)
vegetable dip made from sour cream, onion, and herbs
French onion rings - rondelles d'oignon
French onion soup - la soupe à l'oignon
onion soup (topped with cheese and broiled)
French onion soup recipe
French pancake - une crêpe
How to make crêpes
French pastry - la pâtisserie
French plait - la tresse française
(hair style) French braid in US
French pleat - le pli pincé
a pleat at the top of a curtain consisting of three smaller pleats
French polish - le vernis au tampon
shellac diluted with alcohol and used to produce a high gloss on wood
French poodle - un caniche
French press - une cafetière
literally, "coffee maker"
French provincial (unknown translation)
(architecture, furniture) style characteristic of the French provinces in the 17th and 18th centuries
French roast coffee - le café mélange français
literally, "French blend coffee"
French roll - un chignon banane
literally, "banana bun"
French roof - un toit à la mansarde
literally, "Mansard roof"
French saddle - une selle française
breed of horse
French seam - la couture anglaise
literally, "English sewing"
French silk pie (unknown translation)
pie with a chocolate mousse or pudding filling and whipped cream topping
French skipping (unknown translation)
also known as "Chinese skipping," "Chinese jump rope," and "elastics."
French stick - une baguette
French telephone - un appareil combiné
telephone with the receiver and transmitter as a single piece
French toast - le pain perdu
literally, "lost bread"
French toast recipe
French trotter - un trotteur français
breed of horse
French twist - le chignon
French vanilla - la vanille bourbon
literally, "(the French town of) Bourbon vanilla"
French vermouth - le vermouth
French window - la porte-fenêtre
Pardon my French. - Passez-moi l'expression.
Allow me the expression.