French Language Blog

Femme, comme… (Woman as in…) Posted by on Mar 15, 2011 in Culture, Music, Vocabulary

In the French Blog, les femmes (women) are toujours à l’honneur (still honored), even a week after le 8 mars (8th of March.)

Today, we will go through several case examples where the French word femme (woman) can be encountered. Femme, as in… la Femme Nikita

* * *

* Femme, comme… (Woman, as in…):

  • Une jeune femme:young woman
  • Une jolie femme: a beautiful woman
  • Une vieille femme: an old woman
  • Une femme mûre: a mature woman
  • Une bonne femme: literally meaning a “good woman.” Not necessarily meant derogatorily, it has often the same meaning as you would say in English “some (random) woman”
  • Une future femme: no, it’s not a woman who comes from the future (which otherwise would be called “une femme du futur.“) It actually means a “wife-to-be

The now defunct singer Jean Ferrat (he died exactly a year ago, almost day for day) rendered the maxime of his “camarade en chef” (“comrade in chief”) and “homme engagé” (think “mild to hot” Stalinism…) Louis Aragon into a song: “la femme est l’avenir de l’homme” (“Woman is the future of man”)


Or would it not be better said as “Woman is the future wooing of man”?

* * *

  • Une sage-femme: literally a “wise woman”, meaning a midwife
  • Une femme médecin: a lady doctor, as in “Docteur Quinn, femme médecin”(“Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman”)
  • Une femme fatale: is what one would call un personnage type” (a stock character), and carries the same meaning in English

“Docteur Quinn, femme médecin” (“Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman”), a considerably successful American series aired on French TV (broadcasting began in 1993), starring “Jane Seymour”, the English-born actrice (actress) who portrayed the Queen of France, Marie-Antoinette, in the 1989 bicentennial commemorative movie “La Révolution française“, and later a “call-me-Kitty-Kat” femme fatale -yet another role in which she “loses her head”, so to speak- in the less highbrow comedy Serial noceurs” (“Wedding Crashers”)

* * *

  • Femme de lettre, or femme écrivain: woman writer, such as George Sand, or beaucoup plus près de nous (much closer to us), the late Andrée Chedid
  • Une femme d’affaires: business woman
  • Une femme de chambre: likeune femme de ménage, is a chambermaid
  • Une femme au foyer: a housewife (and, for Heaven’s sake, she needs not be so “desperate”)

* * *


  • L’école des femmes“: (“The School for Wives”) is one of the most famous works of comedy by Molière

* * *

  • Une femme est une femme”: (“A Woman is a Woman”) is the title of a well-known 1961 Jean-Louis Godard movie
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  1. ALaa Din:

    c’est bon

  2. Ian McCaffrey:

    As for as I know, Jane Seymour is Englsh.

    • Hichem:

      @Ian McCaffrey Merci, Ian, de rappeler que cette actrice est née en Angleterre.

  3. Ian McCaffrey:

    Merci Hichem. Je vous en prie.