French War and Military Vocabulary

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

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).

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.

French War 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

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

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.

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

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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