I know that both terms roughly translate to 'fashionable' in English. But like there is a difference between 'vivre and habiter', is there any difference between these two terms? Also, 'à la mode' has been adopted into English and refers to desserts served with ice cream. Does the French meaning have anything to do with this?

  • Not relevant with your question but you can also use "être branché" in a daily speaking conversation. Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 17:04
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    If you add "de" to "à la mode" it changes a bit the "in [the current] style"/"in [the current] fashion" notion of "à la mode" (which is the same as "en vogue" and primarily used in reference to cloths) to more of "in THE style of ... [CAEN for tripe or CHEZ NOUS for planting cabbage, for example]", where it can refer to any particular way of doing anything. Even without the "de" it can refer to a particular food dish/preparation in both languages: "Beef/boeuf à la mode," but don't ask for that dish (not in France at least) expecting to get a scoop of ice cream on your slice of roast beef!
    – Papa Poule
    Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 17:04

1 Answer 1


They have the same meaning, yes, as you seemed to know already.

If any, differences between the two will be minimal in general use. À la mode is a bit less sophisticated and will maybe be slightly more employed in casual speech or when actually refering to (clothes) fashion, but both variants are equivalent for other contexts.

For your second question, no, à la mode isn't used in this sense for ice cream on desserts. I think it's another case of the belgian waffle (unknown as such in Belgium) / crème anglaise (unknown as such in England) / french fries (unknown as such in France) / ...

  • Thank you very much! Your analogies at the end were especially nice, great answer! Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 16:26
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    à la mode is much more used in daily speaking.
    – kiwixz
    Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 22:05
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    @iKiWiXz Yes I agree with that, but it was not clearly stated in my answer. I've edited, thanks for the comment. Commented Mar 14, 2015 at 18:37

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