Pommes frites

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Sun Jan 22 18:17:20 UTC 2012

The OED says that pommes frites are potato chips; the AHD doesn't have it.

As Barry Popik points out in 2003 (http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0303D&L=ADS-L&P=R3392&I=-3&X=5A86CF318F261388B0), the word has meant "French fries" at least since 1997, perhaps as a translation from Belgian French. There is a discussion at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/544084 as to whether there is a difference between pommes frites and French fries (Wikipedia doesn't think so: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pommes_frites).

The word "pommes frites" has currency in restaurants in Seattle. I have used the word to refer to a dish that a restaurant calls "pommes frites." The word definitely has a high-faluting connotation and can be used to refer to Mickey D's dish only in a joking way.

The spelling of the singular is not yet fixed. I think "pomme frite" would be the French spelling, but  "pommes frite" and "pommes frites" are also found on Google. 

Googling on "a pomme frites" gets only one hit that is possibly relevant: "Order a pomme frites anywhere in Quebec and they'll do a double take and take a second to figure it out." (http://www.fark.com/comments/6513026/71338958#c71338958)

Benjamin Barrett
Seattle, WA
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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