Cajun Word: Envie

Some of you may follow me on Twitter. If you do, you might see me use the word envie a few times.

Envie, pronounced “ahnvee” (or something like that), means desire, want, or inclination. I’ve often heard this in reference to food. Lately, I’ve had an envie for Chinese food since I haven’t had it in so long. But it can also indicate something you want to do. Like I have the envie to go to a Saints game.

I remember the first time I heard this word used. Before I went college, I spent a lot of time in my own parish. Sure, I went to neighboring Lafourche Parish to visit family and the like, but when I went to college there, it opened a whole new world for me. And not just formal education. Nicholls State University, my alma mater, used to be called Harvard on the Bayou because it drew a lot of students from the Tri-Parish area (Lafourche Parish, Terrebonne Parish, and St. Mary Parish). As a result, you had a blending of many different Cajun English dialects.

I was in my 3rd year when I made friends with a group of people from central Lafourche Parish. One of these friends, though she didn’t have an accent, used Cajun English words left and right. Probably because she’d gone to school with so many people who spoke Cajun French. I remember her using the word envie and I didn’t even have to ask her what it meant. It was as though some part of me instinctively understood envie means strong want, desire, or inclination.

It didn’t become my favorite word (Mais has that honor), but it does convey exactly what I mean when I say I want something. Want, or need, are two words that sometimes don’t feel strong enough to use when I hunger for something. It has to be envie.

So when you’re sitting around and you have a sudden craving for chocolate or coffee, think…Hm, I have the envie for .

13 Comments

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13 responses to “Cajun Word: Envie

  1. I don’t always comment, but I enjoy your Cajun word lessons. I guess I’m a nerd like that, lol.

    Or just an author always on the prowl for character & plot inspiration. 🙂

    • LOL, I think all authors are nerds at heart. I love sharing what little Cajun French/English I know and if it helps you develop a story? Even better! Spread the word far and wide 🙂

  2. SWEET. I like that word! I’m so gonna use that today. I’ll surprise my hubby with it. 🙂

  3. AWESOME!! Right now I’m heading to the kitchen- five minutes ago, I would have said that donut was calling to me. Now, I’ll say I have the envie for that donut.

  4. I always look forward to this post. 🙂 I’m going to try envie out today. LOL Thanks!

  5. Marsha Dupont

    OK, Envie is one of my faves, but you have to use “Frisons” in your next lesson. I’m not sure if that is spelled correctly, but it means goosebumps. As in: “That scary movie just gave me the frisons.” Danica, you will have to add in the pronunciation. haha

  6. Now you mean envie as in En Vie, right, as in the emphasis on the Vie, meaning WITH LIFE, right? Even if you didn’t mean it that way, I’m adopting it. Now out here in California we invented things like Wavy Gravy and Groovey, but I like en-VIE, because I think it will bring a little class to some of us that need it.

    Fun post today.

    • Well, there is more stress on the “vie”, but it flows together. I suppose if someone was to do a word origin, then the root word would probably be “with life”, I never pondered that part of it, LOL Thanks, Sharon!

  7. Troy

    Having grown up in Thibodaux, I still use the word a lot, despite living in Atlanta the past 15 years. Taking a trip back to Nola next week, I’ve had a bad envie for some good food and good music!

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