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à la mode

We’re getting a number of French phrases at this point in this project, aren’t we? À la mode is French for “to the fashion.” At least, that’s the literal translation.

According to the dictionary I’m using, The New Penguin English Dictionary (1986), in English usage à la mode means fashionable or stylish. That’s interesting because I’ve never heard à la mode used to refer to fashion, at least not the sort of fashion that you might see at a fashion show if you were the sort of person to go to fashion shows. I’m not.

However, if I ever get an invitation to a Victoria’s Secret fashion show, I’d probably go. But that’s irrelevant here. I’m just saying.

I’ve only ever heard the phrase à la mode used with the word “pie” in front of it, as in pie à la mode. Pie à la mode is pie with ice cream on top. I have no idea why that’s called pie à la mode. I guess there’s someplace where it’s fashionable to put ice cream on top of pie.

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