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à la

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

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.
See also: carte, la

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.
See also: la, mode

all-a-mort

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.
See also: avant, la

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.
See also: la, vie

cherchez la femme

A French phrase meaning "look for the woman," the idea being that when a man starts behaving strangely, it is often because he is attracted to or involved with a woman. The phrase is typically attributed to French author Alexandre Dumas. A: "Todd has started dressing better and acting much more mature lately." B: "Hmm, cherchez la femme, methinks."
See also: femme, la

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.
See also: crème, DE, la

la-di-da

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!

la-la land

1. A state of unrealistic and idealized fancy, beyond the realms of possibility. Sarah seems to be lost in la-la land these days. If Tom thinks he'll be able to live off his bad poetry, he's living in la-la land!
2. A slang nickname for Los Angeles (L.A.), California. Sometimes capitalized. She always had dreams of moving to La-La Land and becoming a famous actress.
See also: land

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 problems or bad situations that remain the same, even when people or things involved in them are different. We move into a fancy new office, and still the servers crash all the time. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Plus ça change, eh? Even with the so-called champion of the working man in office, it's still the wealthy elite getting all the tax breaks.
See also: ca, change, la, meme, plus

à la

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

cream of the crop, the

The best or choicest of anything, as in The apples from this orchard are definitely the cream of the crop. The noun cream has been used to mean "the best" since the 16th century. The French equivalent of the present term, la crème de la crème ("the cream of the cream") was familiar in English by 1800.
See also: cream, of

la-la land

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

the ˌcrème de la ˈcrème

(from French, formal or humorous) the best people or things of their kind: This university takes only the crème de la crème of school leavers.Naturally, only the crème de la crème have been invited to the wedding.
See also: crème, DE, la

cream of the crop, the

The very best of all. Cream is, of course, the richest part of milk and rises to the top. It was transferred to mean the best of any collective entity by the seventeenth century. John Ray, for example, included “That’s the cream of the jest” in his collection of English proverbs (1678). The exact locution involving the best of the crop was no doubt adopted for its alliterative appeal. The French version, la crème de la crème, literally “the cream of the cream,” meaning the best of the best, was well known in English by 1800 or so and also is considered a cliché. It gained new impetus in Muriel Spark’s novel The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, first made into a play, then a motion picture (1969), in which the schoolteacher-heroine assures her students that they will, under her tutelage, become the crème de la crème.
See also: cream, of

la-la land, in

Out of touch with reality. This slangy equivalent of never-never land dates from the 1980s. The New York Times stated (Jan. 10, 1992), “Stanford is a multicultural la-la land. . . . It’s not the real world.” Capitalized, La-La Land is a jocular nickname for Los Angeles, California, a term that also dates from the 1980s.

vive la différence

Hurray for the difference (between men and women). This jocular approval of diversity dates from the mid-twentieth century, at least for use by English-speaking individuals. The New York Times had it in an article on men and women jockeys in 1969: “The male riders . . . continue to bellow ‘Vive la Différence.’” It also has been extended to differences other than gender, as in the Manchester Guardian’s seeming truism (1964), “‘Vive la différence’ Tories are recognizably Tories, and Socialists are demonstrably Socialists.”
See also: difference, la, vive

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.”
See also: femme, la
References in periodicals archive ?
The definition of a unit of biochemical information is one unit of biochemical information ([i.sub.b]) causes a reference structure ([k.sub.b]) (that has a capacity to direct one lae per unit of biochemical information) to convert one lae of available energy ([e.sub.a]) to the biochemical energy used in a biochemical behaviour ([b.sub.b]).
Redox potential data from 5 wk of waterlogging of 80 families derived from four soft winter wheat populations at LAES Central Station, Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge.
The Pilsworth facility is the world's first grid-scale LAES plant.
The Chief Inspector of Education and Training, Dr Bill Maxwell, has called on Local Authority Education Services (LAES) to be "more vigorous in intervening and challenging schools when they under-perform".
The distinction between remediation and prophylaxis is evident in the following two entries on lice, one of which appears in the Lacnunga and the other in Leechbook III: "Wyrc sealfe wid lusum wyll in buteran nyodeweardne hymlic & wyrmod odde boden smyre mid paet heafod seo sealf geded paet paer bid para lusa laes" [Make a salve against lice: boil in butter the bottom part of hemlock and wormwood or bothen; smear the head with it; the salve makes it so there are fewer lice].
Sugarcane is a clonally propagated crop with two breeding programs in Louisiana; one is conducted by the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station (LAES) near St.
Cavada will drive the international deployment of Highview Power's proprietary liquid air energy storage (LAES) technology and execute the company's ambitious 10-year global expansion strategy.
'The event will significantly contribute towards fostering and promoting Pakistan's strategic relations with international fraternity and would serve to achieve the shared objectives of global peace, stability and balance,' he said and added the successful conduct of IDEAS since year 2000 was the all out support by various government departments, Armed Forces of Pakistan, LAEs, public - private defence industry, trade bodies and largely the people of Karachi.
Er cofiwch, roedd hi'n Nadoligaidd iawn pan wnaethom ni gychwyn o Rhyd Ddu a gweld y Garn yn gwisgo'i mantell wen laes i lawr at ei thraed ac roedd yn bwrw mymryn o eira.
Petrequin 1868/69, 101-110; Stolz 1987, 67-81; Smarius 1996, 16-17; Laes 1998, 364-365.
"SimCity Social will entice a new generation of urban planners with its easy-to-use tools that allow anyone to expand and grow their own unique sprawling metropolises and watch as it comes to life in fun and unexpected ways," said Jami Laes, the vice president of Global Studios for Playfish is quoted as saying.
Gweld yr eira gwyn ar y goeden geirios a gweld y ddraenen ddu yn ei mantell wen, laes. A gweld y ddraenen wen hithau yn gwisgo ei gwn wen.
Laes does his best to include information about girls in his research, something not easily achieved given the male focus of ancient sources.
Min dohtor is nu swide bisy ymbe hyre leornunga, ac pe laes pe ic eow a leng slaece, awritad eowre naman on gewrite and hire morgengife; ponne asaende ic pa gewrita minre dohtor paet heo sylf geceose hwilcne eowerne heo wille.