English “-IST” to French “-ISTE”

DrinkingCoffeeBienvenue, fellow French learners! My name is Matt and I’m one of Dr. Kerley’s students. Like many of you, I’m learning French and I’ll be blogging regularly about a variety of things – language resources, French concepts, my deepest secrets, and more. Feel free to leave comments below because we can certainly help each other learn. That’s me to the left with a look of hope on my face. Most likely,  this photo was taken after I successfully used l’imparfait and le passé composé in the same sentence. Baby steps, y’all.

Alors, commençons!


Eiffel tower with pink balloonsAlthough memorization can be an effective (and necessary) way of learning a language, it’s also important to learn using larger concepts. These concepts add many words to our vocabulary in a very short amount of time –  bypassing the rote memorization of lists. Why? Because once we know a concept, it can immediately applied.

For today’s example, we’re going to look at words in English that end in “-IST”. Most English words ending in “-IST” can be converted into French by adding an “-E” to the end. Another great aspect? The majority of these French words are masculine!

It’s a two-for-one deal today, folks: not only are we adding a bunch of words to our vocabulary, but we’re learning their gender. We may slip here and there until we learn the gender exceptions but it’s definitely a start. For now, let’s just say that the odds are ever in our favor.

Below are 40 examples of English “-IST” to French “-ISTE” words to get us started:

  • the activist = l’activiste
  • the alarmist = l’alarmiste
  • the antagonist = l’antagoniste
  • the artist = l’artiste
  • the cyclist = le cycliste
  • the biologist =le biologiste
  • the botanist = le botaniste
  • the capitalist = le capitaliste
  • the centrist = le centriste
  • the communist = le communiste
  • the conformist = le conformiste
  • the economist = l’économiste
  • the dentist = le dentiste
  • the dermatologist = le dermatologiste
  • the extremist = l’extrémiste
  • the fascist = le fasciste
  • the feminist = le féministe
  • the finalist = le finaliste
  • the florist = le fleuriste
  • the humorist = l’humoriste
  • the idealist = l’idéaliste
  • the journalist = le journaliste
  • the linguist = le linguiste
  • the materialist = le matérialiste
  • the minimalist = le minimaliste
  • the moralist = le moraliste
  • the nationalist = le nationaliste
  • the nutritionist = le nutritionniste
  • the optimist = l’optimiste
  • the pacifist = le pacifiste
  • the pessimist = le pessimiste
  • the pianist = le pianiste
  • the populist = le populiste
  • the racist = le raciste
  • the realist = le réaliste
  • the socialist = le socialiste
  • the specialist = le spécialiste
  • the stylist = le styliste
  • the terrorist = le terroriste
  • the tourist = le touriste

And JUST when you thought the fun was over, there’s even more. Below are four words that also happen to be French “-ER” verbs. And as we all know – “ER” verbs are always a welcome sight:

  • he exists = Il existe. = EXISTER
  • I insist = J’insiste. = INSISTER
  • She persists = Elle persiste. = PERSISTER
  • One resists = On résiste = RÉSISTER


Wiktionary has a nice list of French words suffixed with “iste” to check out. Also, there is a handy list of English “ist” words arranged by frequency at More Words. Take a look at both lists and generate some of your own combinations. If anything you’ll learn a bunch of fun English words that end in “-IST” that you never knew existed. You know, everyday words like “antivivisectionist”, “dodecaphonist”, and “martyrologist”.

Soon, we’ll take a look at words in English that end in “ion” and the ridiculous amount of words and verbs you can quickly add to your French vocabulary. Good times.

À plus tard!!

M. Matt

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