H muet

French mute h
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Mute h

The French h muet is not just silent, but essentially non-existent: words that begin with h muet act as if they begin with a vowel. That is to say that elisions and liaisons are required in front of the h muet, in contrast to the h aspiré, in front of which they are forbidden.

Par exemple :  J’hĂ©site Ă  lire les histoires. – I hesitate to read the stories.

  • Because hĂ©siter begins with h muet, the elision with je is required. Je hĂ©site is incorrect.
  • Likewise, les histoires is pronounced [lay zee stwar], not [lay ee stwar] as it would be if histoires started with h aspirĂ©.

There are more words that begin with h muet than with h aspirĂ©, but when in doubt, check a dictionary. The pronunciation key will include some kind of symbol if it’s an h aspirĂ©, or nothing at all if it’s an h muet.

habile     skillful
habilitĂ© (f)   fitness
s’habiller     to get dressed
habits (m)   clothes
habiter     to live in
habitude (f)   habit
hacker (m)   hacker
Hadès (m)   Hades
hadj (m)   hajj
hadron (m)   hadron
hagard     distraught
HaĂŻti (m)   Haiti
haleine (f)   breath
Halloween (f)   Halloween
halluciner     to hallucinate
halo-     (prefix)
harmonica (m)   harmonica
harmonie (f)   harmony
harpagon (m)   skinflint, Scrooge
HawaĂŻ (m)   Hawaii
hebdomadaire   weekly
hĂ©bergement (m)   lodging
hĂ©berger     to house
hĂ©bĂ©ter     to daze, stupefy
hĂ©breu (m)   Hebrew
hectare (m)   hectare
hectique     hectic
hĂ©donisme (m)   hedonism
hĂ©gĂ©monie (f)   hegemony
hĂ©licoptère (m)   helicopter
hĂ©lium (m)   helium
hĂ©lix (m)   helix
Helsinki     Helsinki
hĂ©matome (m)   hematoma
hĂ©misphère (m)   hemisphere
hĂ©mophile     hemophiliac
hĂ©morragie (f)   hemorrhage
hĂ©morroĂŻde (f)   hemorrhoid
hĂ©patite (f)   hepatitis
herbage (m)   pasture
herbe (f)   grass
hĂ©rĂ©ditĂ© (f)   heredity
hĂ©riter     to inherit
hĂ©roĂŻne (f)   heroin, heroine
herpès (m)   herpes
hĂ©siter     to hesitate
hĂ©tĂ©rosexuel     heterosexuel
heure (f)   hour
heureux     happy
hexagone (m)   hexagon
hiberner     to hibernate
hibiscus (m)   hibiscus
hier     yesterday
hilare     beaming
Himalaya (m)   the Himalayas
hindou     Hindu
hip-hop (m)   hip-hop
hippodrome (m)   racetrack
hippopotame (m)   hippopotamus
hirondelle (f)   swallow
hirsute     hairy, shaggy
histoire (f)   story, history
hiver (m)   winter
holo-     (prefix)
hologramme (m)   hologram
homĂ©opathie (f)   homeopathy
homicide (m)   homicide
hommage (m)   tribute
homme (m)   man
homo-     (prefix)
honnĂŞte     honest
honneur (m)   honor
honorer     to honor
hĂ´pital (m)   hospital
horaire (m)   schedule, timetable
horizon (m)   horizon
horloge (f)   clock
hormone (f)   hormone
horoscope (m)   horoscope
horreur (f)   horror
horrible     horrible
horrifier     to horrify
horticulture (f)   horticulture
hospitalitĂ© (f)   hospitality
hostile     hostile
hĂ´te (m)   host
huile (f)   oil
huĂ®tre (f)   oyster
humain (m)   human
humble     humble
humeur (f)   mood
humide     humid
hyacinthe (f)   hyacinth
hybride (m)   hybrid
hydr-     (prefix)
hydraulique     hydraulic
hydrogène (m)   hydrogen
hygiène (f)   hygiene
hyper-     (prefix)
hypo-     (prefix)
hystĂ©rie (f)   hysteria

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French h muet

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