Definition of French leave in English:

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French leave


[mass noun] informal, dated
Absence from work or duty without permission: the caretaker had taken French leave
More example sentences
  • I wouldn't get too worked up about this, you might have to take French leave to sort it out.
  • I'm beginning to think you took a French leave from the Rangers.


Mid 18th century: said to derive from the French custom of leaving a dinner or ball without saying goodbye to the host or hostess. The phrase was first recorded shortly after the Seven Years War; the equivalent French expression is filer à l'Anglaise, literally 'to escape in the style of the English'.

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