Mathews' Corpus

(slightly extended by Gef)
Words which have the same spelling but different meanings in French & English.
(My full "Frenglish" dictionary has over 8000 entries.)

Note that many uncommon words are unknown by the French -> English (E) and the English -> French (F) translators.

Jean put dire comment on tape
(René Droin, in Dictionnaire Extraordinaire des Mots Ordinaires)

This page was created in the early 90s, mainly to play with the translators available on the Web at that time (whose addresses often change...). On February 2004, Ian Monk, member of OuLiPo, warned me that several entries did not respect Harry Mathews' strict definition of his corpus, namely that no word should share any common meaning in English & French. He thus recommended that I erase the following twenty words:

abuse (E-F), bat (E-F), brute (E-F), cause (E-F), cent (E-F), content (E-F), corner (E-F), cure (E-F), emu (E-F), gag (E-F),
grave (E-F), job (E-F), joker (E-F), lad (E-F), lot (E-F), net (E-F), phrase (E-F), race (E-F), rave (E-F), robe (E-F).

Actually, I realized later that several other words included in the original Mathews' Corpus do share common meanings in English & French! However, I keep them in the first list above, and looking for them may be considered as a game or an exercise.

See also Perec's Dictionary

Back to Gef's Hotlist, Wordlist, or Oulipian Exercises

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Last modified : February 4th, 2004