Glossaire des termes liés aux vêtements de garçon au Canada français et au Québec/
Boys' French-Language Clothing Glossary: Canada and Quebec--Clothing Terms

Figure 1.--.

French and Canadian French are very close. French speakers in both countries easily understand each other. Very few word are different. Some of these differences between French and Canadian French include clothing terms. We have just begun to collect information on these differences. Many clothing terms are identical in Canada and France. For some reason, many terms for hosiery and footerar are different. HBC is unsure why there are such differences for these specific types of clothing. Of course in fashion there is a continual evolution of styles and terminology. Some former words are not anymore used today; others apear, often coming from abroad. Curiously, many of the clothing terms that are used differently concern hosiery and footear. I am not sure why this is.

Clothing Items

Here are some details on specific clothing items.


The term bas for hosiery appears to be used quite differtly in Canada and France. Canadians commonly used the term "bas" for socks, which was an older French word for hosiery. A French reader writes, "In France during the 20th century long over-the-knee stockings were not considered fashionable for children. The term bas was used for women's long stockings. During the early 20th century bas was used to describe kneesocks worn by boys and girls--"bas quatre-quarts". When I was a boy in the 1940s and 50s we only the word " chaussettes" to mean kneesocks; but I could perfectly understand the word ' bas '." " A reader tells us, "Today in France, stockings with incorporated garters are called ' bas-jarretières '." A Canadian reader writes, "The term for socks and stockings is Canada is 'bas', long stockings ' bas longs '." Bas in Canada does not have the connotations of girls' hosiery as is the case in France today.


Chaussettes is another term that appears to be used differently in Canada and France. A French reader reports, "In popular language we use very often ' chaussettes ' instead bas longs meaning long stockings." A Canadian reader writes, " Socks are ' chaussettes ' in France and ' bas courts ' in Québec. Over-the-knee stockings are ' chaussettes longues ' in France and ' bas au-desus des genoux ' in Québec. Knee socks are ' chaussettes au genou ' in France and ' bas trois-quarts ' in Quebec."


The word ' chandail ' is used for pullover sweater in Canada. A French readr writes, " For us the word ' chandail ' means simply a knitted garment for the top of the body. It can be a pull-over, gilet, or something else alike. This word was common when I was a boyin the 1950s, but today is not as commonly used."


Chaussures is used in France for shoes all sorts. I am not sure how the word is used in Canada.


This appears to be one of the few hosiery terms which has a common meaning in Canasda and France. The term in France for the tights worn by childremn and women is " collants ". The same term is used in Canada.


The term pull-over ( pull in France since 1930) is also used too in French Canadians by the jet set. But pull ( chandail ) is used by most people. A French reader writes, " To be precise, the both terms (pull-over and pull) are used in France, almost equally.


Take a word like ' socquette ' This term took place in 1930 because a store at Paris was called Socquette from the English "socks". A French Canadian reader tells us, "We don't use this term in Québec because we use a real french term from Picardy ' chaussette ' also called ' bas court ' You see, there is a big difference between France and Québec. In France, the use of English or American terms is not too touchy because English-speakers are such a small minority. Socquettes today in France is used for ankelsocks."


Souliers is another term used differently in Canada and France. A French reader tells us that, " ' Souliers ' is the French term for Sunday shoes." A Canadian reader reports, "Shoes are " chaussures " in France and " souliers " in Québec. In France, ' souliers ' mean old shoes." A French reader tells us this is not quite correct, "Souliers is a French word that was quite common before the 1950s, but is less and less used today. It does not, however, mean 'old shoes'. Rather the word means low cut, dressy shoes that atre worn on Sunday or for other special occassions."

2002 French Catlog

A page from a 2002 Frenh catalog provides examples of the terms used for socks.


Visual Dictionary of English and French Terms (Montréal: Les Editions Québec-Amérique).

Dictionnaire des expressions québécoises.

Michel Coron and Charles Camard


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Created: December 28, 2003
Last updated: January 1, 2004