There are two translations for "Persian" in French: "Persan" and "Persique". For example, "Tapis Persan" for "Persian Rug" but "Golfe Persique" for "Persian Gulf". What's the difference? Are they exchangeable? What are some examples of "Persique"?

1 Answer 1


There are more than two translations for Persian:

  • Persique

  • Persan

  • Perse

  • Farsi

and the forgotten

  • Persien

Persique is related to the ancient Persia (before the arabic invasion in the seventh century). Perse is preferred nowadays and persique is rarely used outside of Golfe persique. Examples are guerre persique, war between the Greeks and Persians (Battle of Marathon, Darius, Xerxes...) and feu persique and old name for the erysipelas desease.

Persan is related to the "modern" Persia, i.e. after the seventh century, so is not exchangeable with persique.

Persien used to be a synonymous of persan and gave persienne.

Since 1935, iranien is preferred to persan.

Farsi is mostly used to name the language (also persan) and the specificity of the Arabic alphabet used in Persia.

  • There are more than two translations....quand même. tapis perses, Lettres Persanes, deux exemple assez connus....used to be a synomym, luv.
    – Lambie
    Sep 30, 2017 at 16:30
  • @Lambie, "there are" indeed, thanks ! Tapis perse is almost never used in French, that's tapis persan. On the other hand, there is étoffe perse or toile perse.
    – jlliagre
    Sep 30, 2017 at 18:20

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