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In the manner or style of something or someone else. The phrase is a shortened form of the French à la mode de, meaning "in the manner of." The lead actor delivered hilarious slapstick à la The Three Stooges, but also had a grace and charm that was irresistible.
See also: la
1. Struck dumb, insensible, or motionless with fear or confusion. His speech was full of such fire and anger that I was rendered all-a-mort for a few moments afterward.
2. In a dying or half-dead state; depressed or dejected, as in one who feels half dead. Possibly a corruption of "alamort," meaning the same, or a reference to a "mort," the sound from a hunter's horn to signal the death of an animal being hunted. I'm all-a-mort these past two days; I know not if I shall live beyond the week.
avant la lettre
Before something (a word, phrase, name, or specific entity, especially that which is anachronistic) was coined or created. From the French meaning "before the letter." So-called "hipsters" have always existed avant la lettre, but it's only in the last few decades that we've attempted to create a label for them.
crème de la crème
Of a person or a thing, the very best of a similar group or type. Literally translated from French as "cream of the cream." This car is the crème de la crème of luxury vehicles. Janet is the crème de la crème of photographers.
à la carte
Available to be purchased individually instead of bundled with other items. Most often describes items on a menu that are not part of a main dish. I wasn't very hungry, so I opted to buy a few side items à la carte instead of a full meal.
à la mode
1. Served with ice cream. My favorite dessert is apple pie à la mode.
2. Very fashionable. Big shoulder pads were à la mode in the 1980s, but most people now would not dare to wear them.
c'est la vie
Oh well. This French phrase, meaning "that's life," indicates resignation and acceptance of something that one dislikes but cannot change. I know you're annoyed to have gotten another parking ticket, but c'est la vie. I had hoped to get home early enough to cook dinner, but that didn't happen, so we ordered pizza instead—c'est la vie.
plus ça change (plus c'est la même chose)
From French, meaning "the more things change, the more they remain the same." In English, the phrase is used in reference to situations or problems that remain the same, even when people or things involved in them are different. We move into a fancy new office, and still, the server crashes all the time. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Plus ça change, eh? Even with Mr 'Give Back to the Working Class' in office, it's still the wealthy elite getting all the tax breaks.
1. adjective Pretentiously snobbish or elitist. I'd rather not go to some la-di-da restaurant and get overpriced rabbit food. Let's just get pizza.
2. interjection A sarcastic and derisive phrase meant to mock what one perceives as pretentious or overly refined. Well, la-di-da, look at Mr. Fancy in his new suit. Wow, you were on student council? La-di-da!
Like, in the manner of, as in He hoped to break all records, à la Babe Ruth. This expression, an abbreviation of the French à la mode de (for "in the manner of"), has been used in English since the late 1500s.
See also: la
1. Los Angeles, California (often abbreviated L.A.). This expression pokes fun at the alleged eccentricities of the city's inhabitants. For example, What do you expect? Frederick has lived in la-la land for ten years and it has rubbed off on him . [Slang; c. 1980]
2. A state of being out of touch with reality, as in I don't know what's going on with Amy-she seems to be in la-la land. [Slang; c. 1980] Also see cloud-cuckoo land; never-never land.
See also: land
cherchez la femme
This French phrase that translates as “look for a woman,” originated with the elder Alexandre Dumas in his novel The Mohicans of Paris. Its meaning is that unusual male behavior can often be traced to involvement with a female. For example, countless generations of adolescent boys who never paid attention to their wardrobe or personal grooming suddenly became interested in clothing fashions. They washed their face and combed their hair without being told to, and spent hours chatting on the telephone (now a computer or handheld device) with the classic teenage boy's dreamy/dopey look on their face. Their parents would regard the phenomenon with a knowing and bemused expression as they told each other, “cherchez la femme.”