take French leave

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Alternative forms[edit]


take French leave (third-person singular simple present takes French leave, present participle taking French leave, simple past took French leave, past participle taken French leave)

  1. (intransitive) To leave unannounced or without permission
  2. To desert. To go AWOL.
    • 1824: Edward Allen Talbot, Five Years' Residence in the Canadas: Including a Tour Through Part of the United States of America
      No sooner do European servants arrive in America, than ...they ... take French leave of their employers, and, procuring land for themselves, commence the occupation of farming on their own account.
    • 1829, William Nugent Glascock, Sailors and saints; or, Matrimonial manœuvres, by the authors of the 'Naval sketch book':
      The first suggestion of the moment was one altogether unworthy of him, which was to incur the imputation of adopting Gallican habits, and taking what is known by the term "French leave".
    • 1904: Elroy McKendree Avery, William Abbatt, A History of the United States and Its People: From Their Earliest Records to the Present Time
      In spite of threats and punishment, many Canadians deserted in order to care for their families and to provide food for the coming winter; more than two thousand are said thus to have taken French leave.
    • 1904: Oxford Journals, Notes and queries
      What, Master Peveril, is this your foreign breeding? or have you learned in France to take French leave of your friends?.



See also[edit]