French War and Military Vocabulary

Unfortunately, to follow the news in French, this bilingual French English war and military vocabulary may come in handy.

1 – War = La Guerre (not la gare)

La guerre – war.

Watch out for the pronunciation since I hear many students mistake “la gare” (A sound = the train station) with “la guerre” (ay sound).

2 – Peace = La Paix

This weird French word ends in a silent X, and is pronounced like “pay”.

We talk about “des pourparlers de paix”, “des négociations de paix” = peace talks.

3 – War French  Vocabulary

  1. Un conflit armé – an armed conflict
  2. Une déclaration de guerre – a war declaration
  3. Un traité de paix – a peace treaty
  4. Un armistice – an armistice
  5. Un cessez-le-feu – a cease fire
  6. Un soldat – a soldier
  7. S’engager – to enroll
  8. Recruter – to recrute
  9. Un ennemi – an enemy
  10. Une super puissance – a superpower
  11. Un empire – an empire
  12. Un combat – a combat
  13. Un génocide – a genocide
  14. Un massacre – a massacre
  15. Un combattant – a fighter
  16. Un tirailleur – a rifleman / marksman
  17. Envahir – to invade
  18. Une invasion – an invasion
  19. Une attaque – an attack
  20. Un bombardement – a bombing
  21. Une bombe – a bomb
  22. Une victime – a victim
  23. Un blessé – a wounded
  24. Un tué – a person who was killed
  25. Un mort – a dead person
  26. Un amputé – an amputee
  27. Une tranchée – a trench
  28. Un espion – a spy
  29. Un traitre – a traitor
  30. Un allié – an ally
  31. S’allier avec quelqu’un – to be allied with someone
  32. Une alliance – an alliance
  33. La victoire – the victory
  34. Les vainqueurs, les gagnants – winners
  35. Gagner la guerre – to win the war
  36. La défaite – the defeat
  37. Les perdants – losers
  38. Perdre la guerre – to lose the war
  39. Se rendre – to surrender
  40. Fuir – to flee
  41. Une dette de guerre – a war debt

4 – Une arme = a weapon

  1. Une arme à feu = a firearm
  2. Un revolver, un pistolet = a handgun
  3. Une mitrailleuse = a machine gun
  4. Une mitraillette = an automatic handgun, a Tommy gun
  5. Un fusil = a rifle
  6. Une balle = a bullet
  7. Tirer sur quelqu’un = to shoot at someone
  8. Se faire tirer dessus = to be shot at
  9. Tuer quelqu’un = to kill someone
  10. Abattre quelqu’un = To intentionally kill someone with a weapon / to strike someone down
  11. Blesser quelqu’un = to wound someone
  12. Un tank – a tank
  13. Un camion – a truck
  14. Un hélicoptère – a helicopter
  15. Un avion – a plane
  16. Un missile – a missile
  17. Un bateau – a boat
  18. Un sous-marin – a submarine

5 – Different French Armies

  1. L’armée – the army (general term)
  2. L’armée de terre – the army (the ground division)
  3. L’armée de l’air – the Air Force
  4. La Marine nationale – the Navy (not the Marines, which would be translated as “les troupes de marines”… Note as well that “la marine marchande” is the ensemble of commercial ships.

6 – How do You Say World War I and World War II in French?

We have several ways to talk about WWI and WWII in French.

  1. La Première Guerre mondiale, La Guerre de 14 (quatorze) = WWI
  2. La Deuxième Guerre mondiale, La Guerre de 40 (quarante) = WWII

7 – The War Against Terror in French

I wrote a whole article to talk about the French Terrorism Vocabulary – you’ll find more war-related terms there.

You may also be interested in D-Day – Le Débarquement and Vive la France – How to Express Patriotism in French.

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