Top 20 French Words Used in Sports

Discover the Top 20 French words used in sports! From “but” to “arbitre,” learn essential vocab to help you better understand the sports world in French.

french words used in sports

Italian Words Used in Sports

Explanation of the significance of French words in sports

Given its broad use, the French language has had a significant impact on the vocabulary used in different sports all over the world.

Many sports including ballet, fencing, and soccer have used French terminology to designate specific maneuvers, approaches, and movements. If athletes, coaches, and fans want to learn more about the sport and its history they must be able to understand these French phrases.

A brief history of the Influence of French on the Language of Sports

For centuries, the language of sports has primarily been French. Fencing and equestrian sports were popular among the upper class during the 17th and 18th centuries, and French was the aristocracy’s language in Europe.

As a result, numerous phrases for fencing and equestrian sports were translated from French and adopted as standard nomenclature. Additionally, ballet began in France, and other sports like gymnastics and figure skating have incorporated the dance form’s terminology.

Common French Words in Sports

En garde (Fencing)

“En garde” is a French term used in fencing to signal the start of a bout. It translates to “on guard” and is used to warn the fencers to be ready to begin. It is an essential phrase in fencing, and its use highlights the sport’s French roots.

Déjà vu (Figure Skating)

In figure skating, the phrase “déjà vu” is used to describe a jump or spin that is repeated during a routine. It means “already seen” and is used to let judges know that a certain routine component has already been done.

Grand Jete (Ballet and Gymnastics)

A large leap in which the dancer stretches their legs in the air is referred to as a “grand jete” in ballet. The term, which means “big throw” in English, has been adopted by the gymnastics community to designate a related maneuver.

Touché (Fencing)

In fencing, the phrase “touché” is used to denote a successful strike on an adversary. To inform the opposition that they have been hit and a point has been scored, the phrase “touched” is used.

En Pointe (Ballet)

“En pointe” is a ballet term that describes a dancer balancing on the tips of their toes. The phrase translates to “on the point” and is an essential element in ballet.

Passe (Soccer)

“Passe” is a French term used in soccer to describe a pass. It is commonly used in soccer broadcasts around the world, highlighting the universal influence of French in sports.

Chasse (Soccer)

The soccer move when a player advances the ball with one foot while bringing the other foot alongside it is called a “chasse” in French. The verb means to “hunt” and is an essential soccer move.

Coup d’envoi (Soccer)

The term “coup d’envoi” refers to the kickoff that begins a soccer match in French. The phrase translates to “kick-off” and has become the standard expression in many countries worldwide.

Tour de France (Cycling)

tour de france (cycling)

The renowned French cycling competition known as “Tour de France” has come to represent the sport. The expression which translates to “Tour of France,” is an illustration of how French phrases have permeated the vocabulary of sports.

Plié (Ballet)

A dancer bending their knees while maintaining their heels on the ground is known as a “plié” in ballet. It means “bent” and is a fundamental ballet exercise that helps the legs gain strength and control.

Fleur de Lis (Football)

The French emblem “fleur de lis” is frequently seen in football, especially in the National Football League (NFL). The image is a representation of the heavily French-influenced metropolis of New Orleans.

Balletomane (Ballet)

A person who enjoys and is knowledgeable about ballet is referred to as a “balletomane” and is of French origin. This expression which translates to “ballet maniac,” is frequently used to describe those who have a passionate interest in the performing arts.

Relevé (Ballet)

The term “relevé” refers to a ballet movement in which the dancer rises onto the balls of their feet. The term translates to “raised” and is an important movement in ballet since it helps to build leg and foot strength and control.

Arabesque (Ballet and Figure Skating)

A dancer in a ballet stance known as a “Arabesque” stands on one leg extends the other behind them, and simultaneously extends their arms in a variety of directions. The word means “Arabian” and has been used to designate a similar skating position.

Fouetté (Ballet)

In ballet, a movement known as a “fouetté” is one in which the dancer quickly pivots on one leg while extending the other leg in various directions. The word “whipped” refers to an advanced balletic skill.

Croisé (Ballet)

“Croisé” is a ballet term that describes a position in which the dancer stands with one leg crossed in front of the other while also turning their body slightly to the side. The phrase translates to “crossed” and is an important element in ballet, as it helps to create a visually appealing line.

Ensemble (Dance and Theater)

The term “fouetté” refers to a ballet movement in which the dancer quickly rotates on one leg while extending the other leg in various postures. The phrase translates to “whipped” and refers to an advanced ballet technique.

Changement (Ballet)

The term “changement” in ballet describes a move in which the dancer leaps and alternates their feet while in the air. This word which means “change,” is essential to the art since it helps to develop quickness and control of the legs.

Pas de Deux (Ballet)

The ballet term “pas de deux” refers to a dance for two persons. The term, which translates to “step of two,” is crucial in ballet because it enables dancers to communicate and produce a visually striking performance.

Jeté (Ballet)

“Jeté” is a ballet phrase for a jump in which the dancer takes off from one foot and lands on the other. The term translates to “thrown” and is an important part of ballet since it helps to develop leg speed and control.

Learn More about the French Language

conclusion of learning french words used in sports

French words have had a big influence on sports terminology all around the world. Many sports including soccer, ballet, and fencing, have acquired French terminology to describe certain maneuvers, tactics, and actions.

For athletes, coaches, and spectators who wish to have a greater understanding of the sport and its history learning this French terminology is crucial. By being more familiar with these terms we can appreciate the accuracy and beauty that French delivers and the influence it has had on the world of sports.

Learning these French terminology will improve your experience and enrich your comprehension of the sport whether you are an experienced athlete or a casual observer.

Furthermore, studying the influence of French on sports can provide insights into the cultural and historical backdrop of these games. Many sports, such as fencing and ballet, have their roots in French culture.

By learning about the French terminology used in these sports, we can acquire a better grasp of their beginnings and evolution across time.

In conclusion, the use of French terminology in sports is evidence of the French language’s lasting influence on the international scene. Understanding these phrases will enhance your experience and heighten your appreciation of the activity, whether you’re a fan of ballet or soccer.

Take a moment to appreciate the French words used and the history and culture they represent the next time you watch a game or go to a concert.

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