colloquial for "the French language," 1754, from French parlez-vous (français?) "do you speak (French?)" From parlez, second person plural of parler "to speak" (see parley (n.)) + vous, from Latin vos, plural of tu "thou" (see thou). Also used as a verb, "to speak French." It got another boost in U.S. after World War I, along with other mangled French terms brought home by the doughboys, such as san fairy ann, a jocular expression of indifference, representing French ça ne fait rien "it does not matter."
updated on December 10, 2021