The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

French is the language of bread

Pablo's picture

French is the language of bread

My new neighbour, a high school French teacher, upon receiving a welcoming loaf of bread from me told me that "pain" is french for "bread" and "copain" is French for "friend".   I don't remember exactly what she said the "co" part was, but it linked bread with friendship very basically.  Inspired to look up "companion" in an English dictionary I find:

companion:  ORIGIN Middle English: from Old French compaignon,
literally ‘one who breaks bread with another,’  based on Latin
com- ‘together with’ + panis ‘bread.’

Pretty cool, eh?


OldWoodenSpoon's picture

as you proved with your "Welcome Loaf".  Cool indeed Paul.  Keep up the good work.


Erzsebet Gilbert's picture
Erzsebet Gilbert

I love language, and your factoid is so interesting - I think it says a lot about what something as simple as a handmade loaf can mean.  Wonderful post!

For my own linguistic tidbit... my husband and I spent a month in Turkey this past summer, where we rather overenthusiastically enjoyed the world of local bread.  And one man at an inn in Istanbul told us that he often heard/used the phrase Gun Ekmek used as a greeting or goodbye.  Gun means 'good', and 'ekmek' is bread - you wished this blessing to one another.  

So, gun ekmek to you, Pablo, and to all on TFL!


dosidough's picture

A lovely anecdote.

I keep a little baker's diary so I remember what did or didn't work, what loaves went well with what, to remember about something good if I don't make it for too long a while and who likes which loaves, their favorites or requests. I printed out your post so that I can paste it inside the front cover, because it makes me smile.

There is something primordially special in the exchange or sharing of bread and in the baking too.

Erzsebet, thank you also for your tidbit. This is a lovely community.


Bake on....



RachelJ's picture

That's an awesome thing! in many countries, breaking bread is the sign of friendship and the guest usually gets to do it as an honour thing.

kdwnnc's picture

so that's really cool!

leucadian's picture

You might find this interesting. It's list of words I ran across in French baking texts and blogs, with suggested pronunciation hints:


Pablo's picture

Can anyone tell me definitively if the final "d" is pronounced?  It seems to me that there are a lot of French words where some of the letters are silent.  I thought it was pronounced "bah TAR", and pronounced the same even if it was plural. 

Thanks for any info.


LindyD's picture

Acapela Text to Speech and choose Claire as your French translator.

She is said to be the most accurate.

Pablo's picture

That's great.  Thanks,


Daisy_A's picture

Pablo, you're correct - you don't pronounce the 'd' in either the singular or the plural, as Claire so aptly demonstrates. Thanks for the link to that website LindyD.

Regards, Daisy_A

Yumarama's picture

the word "company": those with whom you share bread. And bread further transforms to dough which is also a slang term for cash. People who work together to share income: Company.