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National Dictionary Day: French

Happy Dictionary Day! In honor of this wonderful holiday we thought we would introduce you to the Oxford Language Dictionaries Online (OLDO). With over 1.4 million words and phrases you could spend the whole day (and even the whole year) exploring other languages. Lucky for you, OLDO is free through Sunday the 21st. Use this link to start your word travels. Throughout the day we will be have some fun quizzes to help you expand your vocabulary in French, German, Spanish and Italian. First up is French. Try the questions below and then hit “more” to see how well you did. If you are stuck use OLDO for help!

Question 1: A Belgian French student tells you she has “une heure de fourche” today. What does she mean?

Question 2: French has two words that translate the English river – what’s the difference between them?

Question 3: Which French speakers would refer to France’s victory in the 1998 FIFA World Cup as being in “nonante-huit”?

Question 4: When would you hear people shouting “allez les Bleus”?

Question 5: Most English speakers know the French word “eau”; but what is special about “eau de vie”?


Question 1: An hour’s free time. You can find this in OLDO by typing in fourche F-E, or alternatively by using the search filter geographical variant and selecting belgicisme (Belgian French).Question 2: Fleuve means any river that flows into the sea (which would cover larger rivers such as the Seine, Thames, and Potomac), and rivière is used for tributaries (which tend to be smaller rivers). You can find this by typing in river E-F.
Question 3: Those living in Belgium, Switzerland, or Canada, where ninety is nonante rather than quatre-vingt-dix. You could find this out by typing in nonante-huit or nonante on F-E.
Question 4: At any sporting match. The phrase can be translated as “Come on France!”, with Les Bleus is the name given to the French team, particularly in rugby and soccer. Find this out by typing the phrase allez les Bleus into the F-E side.
Question 5: Eau de vie is the French name for brandy. You can find this out by typing in eau de vie F-E

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