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English and Italian words with Latin roots that don't exist in French


All languages have their particularities. Each evolves along with its culture and environment. That's why some cultural expressions are untranslatable in languages belonging to very different cultures (e.g. the Japanese politeness system has no equivalent in English).

For some reasons, everyday words which once existed in a language can sometimes disappear from a language after centuries of existence. This pruning process could happen by a lack of utilisation. This seems to have occured a lot in French. Indeed, many words with Latin roots found in English and Italian can't be found in French. Here is a short list.

For example, French did not inherit the Latin words cancel (cancellare in Italian) and rescind (rescindere in Italian).

Latin words that disappeared from the French language

Adjectives in -ous

English / Italian

  • abstemious / astemio (from Latin abstemius)
  • adventitious / avventizio (from Latin adventitius)
  • captious / capzioso (from Latin captiosus via Middle French captieux)
  • conspicuous / cospicuo (from Latin conspicuus)
  • deciduous / deciduo (from Latin deciduus)
  • decorous / decoroso (from Latin decorus)
  • dexterous / destro (from Latin dexter ; the French dextre does exist but only in heraldy and has a different meaning)
  • extraneous / estraneo (from Latin extraneus ; related to French étranger meaning 'stranger')
  • fatuous / fatuo (from Latin fatuus)
  • felicitous / felice (from Latin felix)
  • fulvous / fulvo (from Latin fulvus)
  • garrulous / garrulo (from Latin garrulus)
  • horrendous / orrendo (from Latin horrendus)
  • impervious / impervio (from Latin impervius)
  • innocuous / innocuo (from Latin innocuuus)
  • mellifluous/ mellifluo (from Latin mellifluus)
  • mendacious / mendaci (from Latin mendacium ; mendacieux used to exist in Middle French)
  • miscellaneous / miscellaneo (from Latin miscellaneus)
  • obvious / ovvio (from Latin obvius)
  • portentous / portentoso (from Latin portentosus)
  • promiscuous / promiscuo (from Latin promiscuus ; French lacks the adjective, although the noun promiscuité exists, but has a different meaning)
  • querulous / querrulo (from Latin querulosus ; existed in Old French as querelos)
  • scurrilous / scurrile (from Latin scurrilis)
  • specious / specioso (from Latin speciosus)
  • spurious / spurio (from Latin spurius)
  • stupendous / stupendo (from Latin stupendus)
  • supercilious / supercilioso (from Latin superciliosus)
  • tedious / tedioso (from Latin taedium, taediosus)
  • tremendous / tremendo (from Latin tremendus)
  • tremulous / tremulo (from Latin tremulus)
  • vacuous / vacuo (from Latin vacuus)

Other words

English / Italian

  • abduct / abdurre (from Latin abducere)
  • accurate / accurato (from Latin accuratus)
  • alleviate / alleviare (from Latin alleviare ; allevier used to exist in Middle French but disappeared from modern French)
  • allude / alludere (from Latin alludere ; French speakers need to say faire allusion as the verb disappeared from the language)
  • amount / ammontare (from Latin ad + montem ; formerly amonter in Old French)
  • aphid / afide (from Latin aphides ; for some reason French dropped the Latin for its own word, puceron)
  • apology / apologia (from Latin and Greek apologia ; the Italian usage is much more formal and limited)
  • arcane / arcano (from Latin arcanus)
  • ascend / ascendere (from Latin ascendere ; French lacks the verb, although it has the noun ascendance and the adj. ascendant)
  • cancel / cancellare (from Latin cancellare ; English via Old French canceler, which disappeared in modern French)
  • casual / casuale (note that the meaning of the English, the Italian and the original Latin word casualis are all different. Notwithstanding, the word casuel just doesn't exist in French, whatever its meaning).
  • causal / causale (the French word "causal" doesn't exist, although causalité does).
  • coalesce / coalizzarsi (from Latin coalescere)
  • collapse / collasso (from Latin collapsus)
  • colloquial / colloquiale (from the Latin noun colloquium)
  • compete / competere (from Latin competere)
  • congenial / congeniale (from Latin con + genialis)
  • congruent / congruente (from Latin congruentem)
  • convenient / conveniente (strangely missing in French, although the negative "inconvenient" does exist)
  • cook / cuoco (n.) (from Latin coquus; French has the verb cuire from coquere, but discarded the noun and created a new one, cuisinier, from cuisiner, ultimately derived from the same Latin root as 'cook' via cuire, but completely unrecognisable)
  • credential / credenziale (from Latin credentialis)
  • custody / custodia (from Latin custodia)
  • decay / decadere (from Latin decadere)
  • desiccant / deseccante (from Latin desiccans)
  • diary / diario (from Latin diarium)
  • dispatch / dispacciare (uncertain root ; Spanish also despachar ; the French dispatcher exists but is an Anglicism)
  • disturb / disturbare (from Latin disturbare ; destorber used to exist in Old French)
  • engulf/ ingolfare (from Latin in + golfo)
  • entrap(ment) / intrappolare (from Old French entraper)
  • exhaust / esaurire (from Latin exhaurire)
  • exhaustion / esaurimento (from Latin exhaurire)
  • expand / espandere (French has expansion, expansif, expansible, but lacks the verb expandre)
  • expectation / aspettativa (from Latin expectationem)
  • fallacy / fallacia (from Latin fallacia ; though the adj. fallacieux exists in French)
  • fate / fato (from Latin fatum)
  • factory / fattoria (from Latin factorium via Middle French factorie ; meaning different in English, Italian and Latin)
  • farcical / farcesco
  • figment / figmento (from Latin figmentum)
  • forcible / forzato (the English comes from Middle French forcible)
  • fragrance / fragranza (from Latin fragrantia)
  • fulcrum / fulcro (from Latin fulcrum)
  • genuine / genuino (from Latin genuinus)
  • grateful / grato (from Latin gratus)
  • impel / impellere (from Latin impellere)
  • incensed / incensato (from Latin incensare ; different from the French insensé, which derives from insensatus and means 'insane')
  • incipient / incipiente (from Latin incipientem)
  • infer / inferire (from Latin inferre)
  • insuperable / insuperabile (from Latin insuperabilis)
  • involve / coinvolgere (from Latin involvere)
  • lemon / limone (French only has the word citron, although the English comes from old French limon - itself derived from the Persian limun via Latin)
  • manumission / manomissione (from Latin manumissionem)
  • mere / mero (the only translation is "simple", which also exist in English and Italian)
  • misfortune / sfortuna (from Latin misfortuna)
  • momentum/ momento (from Latin momentum)
  • obsolescent/ obsolescente (from Latin obsolescentum)
  • occur / occorere (likewise, two different meanings, but derived from the common Latin root occurrere)
  • peculiar / peculiare (from Latin peculiaris)
  • pen / penna (from Latin penna)
  • picture / pittura (meaning no identical in English and Italian)
  • placate / placare (the French "plaquer" has a different meaning and etymology)
  • (im)potent / (im)potente (from Latin (im)potentem ; French has only potentiel from that root)
  • portent / portento (from Latin portentum)
  • precedence / precedenza (from Latin præcedens ; the adj. précédent and the verb précéder exist in French though)
  • pregnant / pregno (from prægnantem, "with child")
  • prescient / presciente (from Latin praescientem)
  • prescind / prescindere (from Latin prescindere)
  • protrude / protrudere (from Latin protrudere)
  • pungent / pungente (from Latin pungentem)
  • quintessential / quintessenziale (adjective form from the Latin quinta essentia ; only the noun quintessence exists in French)
  • rape / rapina (from Latin rapere ; the Italian word means 'robbery')
  • rapture / ratto (from Latin raptus via Middle Latin raptura)
  • recondite / recondito (from Latin reconditus)
  • record / ricordare (from Latin recordari via Old French recorder)
  • recur / ricorrere (from Latin recurrere ; récurrent and récurrence exist in French, but the verb récurer has a different root and meaning, while recourir has the same root but has lost its original sense)
  • refulgent / rifulgente (from Latin refulgentem)
  • relevant / rilevante (from Latin relevantem)
  • reluctant / riluttante (from Latin reluctantem)
  • remain / rimanere (from Latin remanere)
  • remainder / rimanenza (from Latin remanere via Old French remanoir)
  • remove / rimuovere (from Latin removere)
  • repel / repellere (from Latin repellere)
  • rescind / rescindere (from Latin rescindere)
  • rostrum / rostro (from Latin rostrum)
  • rotate / ruotare (from Latin rotare ; although the noun rotation exists in French)
  • sputum / sputo (from Latin sputum )
  • squalor / squallore (from Latin squalor)
  • stance / stanza (from Latin stantia meaning 'place, abode' ; the English and Italian words acquired different meanings - stanza just refers to a room)
  • stipend / stipendio (from Latin stipendium )
  • tedium / tedio (from Latin taedium, taediosus)
  • tonsil / tonsilla (from Latin tonsillae, which ironically might be of Gaulish origin, yet disappeared from the French language)
  • trepidation / trepidazione (from Latin trepidationem)
  • vitiate / viziare (from Latin vitiare)

Note also that the nuance between 'experience' and 'experiment' exists in Italian (esperineza vs esperimento) but not in French (expérience in both cases). Likewise, English has the words flowery and florid, translated in Italian by fiorito and florido, but only by fleuri in French.

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