General Question

flo's avatar

Is wife a word that doesn't have a French equivalent, and what other words don't have a French equivalent?

Asked by flo (12964points) 1 month ago

“Femme” is woman, not wife, ”épouse” applies to both parites, husband or wife. What are some other words that don’t have French words for?

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14 Answers

janbb's avatar

“Ma femme’ is used to mean wife and “mon mari” is husband but I agree, it is also the word for woman.

zenvelo's avatar

I would use la mariée.

janbb's avatar

^^ I’ve never heard that used.

LostInParadise's avatar

Apparently French is not the only language with that problem. I found this article.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Response moderated (Unhelpful)
KNOWITALL's avatar

In French class we were always told to use mon petit chou, my little cabbage.

JLeslie's avatar

Regarding the Quora link and Spanish, the word for spouse is feminine for wife (esposa) and masculine for husband (esposo) so it’s not the same as the word spouse in English in my opinion. Feminine spouse is wife, isn’t it?

There is an addition word in Spanish, marido, which means husband.

Moreover, you can use mujer in the same way you would use it in English, as in my woman to describe your wife.

At a wedding you would typically be pronounced Marido y Mujer. Husband and woman. Which is interesting since in English it was for a long time man and wife, and was update to husband and wife. Or, I consider it an update. I would guess both are still used.

Extra note: esposas means handcuffs.

flo's avatar

Interesting. I’m thinking of a man introducing his wife in a formal setting as “This is my little cabbage”

Also sensible, there is no direct translation for that word, meaning prudent.

janbb's avatar

@flo You are right. One would never say “mon petite chou” to refer to one’s wife to another person. It is solely a term of endearment.

JLeslie's avatar

It’s like saying pork chop or honey in English.

flo's avatar

I suppose all languages have that problem. No word for x y z. But wife is such a straight forward, common word.

janbb's avatar

@flo Well, there is a word; it’s just that is also the word for woman.

JLeslie's avatar

When I was growing up I was taught woman was for a female who was married, actually it was interpreted as that female has had sex. We used lady or young lady for unmarried female adults, typically young. We also used miss not ma’am, because ma’am assumed married. I think that is partly why we use miss up north when we don’t know someone’s name. That has somewhat changed now I guess. I’m just thinking some of this might have stemmed from the French use of the word woman/wife. I don’t know if the French use Mademoiselle if they are unsure of the marital status, or if they go by how old she looks.

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