French War and Military Vocabulary

Author: Camille Chevalier-Karfis

Lists of French war vocabulary, the correct pronunciation of war in French, the names of French armies, weapon in French, how to say WW1 and WW2 in French.

1 – How to say War in French

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 – How to Say Peace in French

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 – 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 enrol
  8. Recruter – to recruit
  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
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4 – How to say Weapon in French

  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

5 – Other French Weapon Vocabulary

  1. Une balle = a bullet
  2. Tirer sur quelqu’un = to shoot at someone
  3. Se faire tirer dessus = to be shot at
  4. Tuer quelqu’un = to kill someone
  5. Abattre quelqu’un = To intentionally kill someone with a weapon / to strike someone down
  6. Blesser quelqu’un = to wound someone

6 – Military French Vocabulary

  1. Un tank – a tank
  2. Un camion – a truck
  3. Un hélicoptère – a helicopter
  4. Un avion – a plane
  5. Un missile – a missile
  6. Un bateau – a boat
  7. Un sous-marin – a submarine

7 – 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.

8 – 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

9 – 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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Author: Camille Chevalier-Karfis

Camille Chevalier-Karfis

Born and raised in Paris, I have been teaching today's French to adults for 25+ years in the US and France. Based on my students' goals and needs, I've created unique downloadable French audiobooks focussing on French like it's spoken today, for all levels. Come to Paimpol and enjoy an exclusive French immersion homestay with me in Brittany.

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