English Words French Origin Fair Languages

45% of English Words have a French Origin

English is known to be the world’s melting pot of languages but did you know that about 45% of today’s English vocabulary have a French origin? According to Athabasca University about 50.000 words have their origin in French. Wikipedia estimates the influence of French on the English language at about 30% in an 80.000 word dictionary.

Especially legal, military, and political terminology derives from French according to Wikipedia. So do noble words and, of course, vocabulary for food and animal meat.

Most of this import of French vocabulary took place after the Norman conquest of England in 1066. First the language of culture and administration spoken by the invaders, French slowly but surely made its way into the English language over the centuries.

But this influence was not a one way street. French also imported words from Old English (Anglo-Saxon) like bateau and gourmet. French also reimported English words of French origin in modern days including budget, challenge and vintage.