A Little French Breakfast Vocabulary To Start The Day Posted by on Dec 6, 2017 in Culture, Vocabulary

Le petit déjeuner (breakfast) is the first meal of the day and while la cuisine (the food) and the time may vary from place to place, everywhere in the world has some kind of breakfast.

Image by Andrés Moreira on Flickr. License under CC BY-SA 2.0.

It may take a while for some people to wake up, but everyone has une routine du matin (a morning routine) that involves things like l’entaientment matinal (morning exercise), se brosser les dents (brushing your teeth), and of course, le petit déjeuner.

Interestingly, even though it may not look like it, the French petit déjeuner has a similar origin to the English word:

Petit déjeuner 

The word derives from jeuner meaning to fast (as in to not eat for a period of time) and adding the dé- prefix gives it the opposite meaning. That gives déjeuner the definition of ending the fast or breaking the fast, similar to the English term, break-fast. It’s also important to remember that without the petit, the word becomes lunch.


En France, le petit déjeuner features pastries like le croissant, le beignet, la crêpe and of course le pain au chocolat (without getting into the big debate over la chocolatine) and is usually accompanied by un café, but some people prefer du thé (tea), une infusion (herbal tea), or du jus (juice) instead.

No matter what you eat, la routine du matin that goes along with le petit déjeuner can set the mood for the entire day. To get in the French learning mood, try to start saying what you ate for breakfast en français, even if it’s not a French breakfast and you’re a little far from une boulangerie française (a French bakery)!

Voici un vocabulaire du petit déjeuner :

Image by Barbara W on Flickr. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Breakfast – Le petit déjeuner
Lunch – Le déjeuner
Dinner – Le dîner
Milk – Le lait
Cereal – Les céréales
Coffee – Le café
Tea – Le thé
Herbal Tea – L’infusion
Orange Juice – Le jus d’orange
Bread – Le pain
Toast – Le pain grillé
Jam – La confiture
Pancake – Le pancake
Waffle – La gaufre
Syrup – Le sirop
Bacon – Le bacon
Eggs – Les œufs

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About the Author: John Bauer

John Bauer is an enthusiast for all things language and travel. He currently lives in France where he's doing his Master's. John came to France four years ago knowing nothing about the language or the country, but through all the mistakes over the years, he's started figuring things out.