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Related to French leave: French kiss
1. An absence or departure from some place or event without ceremony, permission, or announcement. The official story is that he's sick, but I think he's just taking French leave. As the evening wore on, we decided to just take French leave and make our way home.
2. In the military, desertion of one's unit. The sergeant is facing a court martial after it was discovered that he'd taken French leave just before the deadly operation.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
To leave without saying good-bye. The British thought that sneaking away from a gathering without telling anyone you're going wasn't acceptable manners across the channel. Curiously, or perhaps typically, the French refer to the same practice as filer a` l'anglais (“take English leave”). Americans used to use the phrase without knowing its origin. It has been said that the French leave but never say good-bye, while Americans say good-bye but never leave. “French leave” is also military slang for deserting.
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price