Learn English Online - Idiomatic Expressions

Definition of Idiomatic Expressions


What does take French leave mean?

Meaning of idioms with examples...

take French leave


The phrase take French leave refers to the act of leaving a location or event without permission.

The origin of 'take a French leave'

The first record of this idiom dates back to 1771. It appeared in the English language at a point when the English and French cultures were profoundly linked.

Interestingly, there is a French equivalent of this phrase: 'filer à l'anglaise'. It literally means 'to leave the English way'.


I am so bored - I think I might take French leave this afternoon to meet Kate.

The soldier faces heavy charges after he took a French leave just before the deadly operation.

The only thing I could do was to take French leave and get out of there before someone could notice my presence.

This idiom is in the nationalities category

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