When you think of speaking French, what comes to mind? If you’re picturing candlelit dinners, incredible art, and grand romance, you’re not alone.
French is known as the language of love, and just about any common French word sounds lovely. Countless writers and poets have used the language to explore themes such as love, beauty, and nature throughout the ages. Even a few random French words sprinkled into your vocabulary will surely impress your romantic interest! With that in mind, we’ve put together this list of 50 beautiful French words.
These beautiful French words were selected for their pleasant sound and their potent meanings. Before checking out the list, listen to these words for yourself!
Listen to These Beautiful, Popular French Words:
50 Beautiful French Words
- ange – angel (masc.)
- baleine – whale (fem.)
- bisou – kiss (masc.)
- brindille – twig (fem.)
- brûler – to burn
- brume – mist (fem.)
- câlin – hug (masc.)
- chaleur – heat (fem.)
- chatoyer – to shimmer
- chaussettes – socks (fem.)
- mon chouchou – my little cabbage, said as a term of endearment (masc.)
- citronnade – lemonade (fem.)
- citrouille – pumpkin (fem.)
- coquillage – seashell (masc.)
- croquis – sketch (masc.)
- dépaysement – the feeling of being in another country (masc.)
- doux – soft
- écarlate – scarlet
- éclatant – brilliant, dazzling, gleaming
- empêchement – a last minute difficulty (masc.)
- épanoui – blooming, joyful, radiant
- éphémère – ephemeral
- étoile – star (masc.)
- feuilles – leaves (fem.)
- flâner – to stroll aimlessly
- floraison – bloom (fem.)
- grelotter – to shiver
- hirondelle – swallow (bird) (fem.)
- libellule – dragonfly (fem.)
- loufoque – wild, crazy, far-fetched
- luciole – firefly (fem.)
- myrtille – blueberry (fem.)
- noix de coco – coconut (fem.)
- nuage – cloud (masc.)
- orage – thunderstorm (masc.)
- pamplemousse – grapefruit (masc.)
- papillon – butterfly (masc.)
- parapluie – umbrella (fem.)
- pastèque – watermelon (fem.)
- péripatéticien – wanderer (masc.)
- piscine – swimming pool (fem.)
- plaisir – pleasure (masc.)
- pleuvoir – to rain
- plonger – to dive
- retrouvailles – the happiness of seeing someone again after a long time (fem.)
- singulier – so odd it’s one of a time
- sirène – mermaid (fem.)
- soleil – sun (masc.)
- sortable – someone you can take anywhere without being embarrassed
- tournesol – sunflower (masc.)
10 Tips for Learning New French Words Fast
Now that you’ve found plenty of popular French words to learn, you’ll want to integrate them into your vocabulary as much as possible. Increasing your vocabulary of common French words is of the most important parts of studying French. Use these 10 tips to “decode” the language so you can memorize French vocabulary faster.
1. Look for Roots
When you can, memorize French words that share a root at the same time.
For example, when you learn “écrire” (to write), you can also learn “écrivain” (writer) and “l’écrire” (the act of writing). This increases your vocabulary exponentially. Words and their meanings will stick more clearly in your memory since you learned the whole family of words together.
See Also: 100+ Common Regular French Verbs
2. Know Your Cognates
Even if you’re brand new to French, your knowledge of English may help you more than you realize. There are over 1,500 French-English cognates, which are words that are identical in sound and meaning. These are a great starting place for building vocabulary!
As you study, write down a list of French/English cognates in two columns (one for French words and one for English words) and quiz yourself by folding the piece of paper vertically in half. Test your ability to remember both the English meaning and the French word.
3. Practice With Your Textbook
Most language books have illustrations of new vocabulary. Looking at the illustrations, describe them using the vocabulary you already know or have studied, and then read the captions underneath the pictures to see how well you did. Notice how the French words are used in context, and then see if you can apply them in your life.
4. Three is a Magic Number
If you’re really struggling to memorize vocabulary words, write each word three times in French and once in English. Then write the French word again without looking back. Check to see if you wrote it correctly.
5. Listen and Repeat
Look for digital recordings of French words. Try listening to these once, then repeat each word in French while listening to it a second time. There are many great French videos on YouTube that can help you memorize vocabulary and practice listening.
The more French media you take in – be it music, television, or movies – the better your language comprehension will become. While nothing beats total immersion in France, you can immerse your ears in the language even if you don’t have any nearby native speakers. All you have to do is enjoy the vast array of great content available in French!
6. Use it in a Sentence
For each vocabulary word, write a new sentence using it. Try to make your sentence memorable in your own unique way. Context is key to remembering new words!
7. Make Associations
Make associations with words you are familiar with in English.
For example, look at the French verb “rencontrer.” While it means to meet or find, another meaning is “to encounter.” Make the association between these two words so you will be able to recall both the meaning and the word itself in French.
8. French Word of the Day
Choose a new, random French word to learn every day.
Each morning, take the French word you have chosen to study and write it on a few Post-Its with or without its English equivalent. Place the notes in places you will see throughout the day, like the bathroom mirror, the monitor of your computer, or in your planner.
You’ll see the French word many times as you go about your day, and by the end of the day, you should have it memorized!
9. Write it Down
If your goal is to increase your vocabulary rapidly, keep a notebook of new French words you encounter in class, books, and conversations that you hear. Keeping a written record of words you are learning allows you to review and track your progress.
10. Do it Daily
Make studying French vocabulary a regular part of your day.
The key to learning a new language rapidly is studying it regularly. It doesn’t have to be for a long time; just a few minutes each day can make a huge difference!
While resources such as these are great for boosting your French skills, there’s no replacement for meeting with a private tutor. You can add even more French words to your vocabulary and practice your conversational prowess by attending group classes. Looking to learn on the go? Connect with a French teacher online!
Do you have another favorite French word to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!
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