Yesterday I discovered that the French word for bone, os, is pronounced /ɔs/ in the singular, as I suspected, but /o/ in the plural [source]. Os is also used in English as a zoological and medical term for bone and is pronounced /ɒs/ (UK) or /ɑs/ (US). Final consonants of French words aren’t usually pronounced, unless followed by a word beginning with a vowel, so you just have to memorise ones like os.
Os appears in such words and expressions as:
- ossature /ɔsatyʀ/ = frame(work), skeletal/bone structure
- osselet /ɔslɛ/ = knucklebone, ossicle (small bone in the middle ear), osselet (small animal bone)
- osseux /ɔsø/ = bone, osseus, bony
- ossification = ossification
- ossifier /ɔsifje/ = to ossify (to harden, make into bone)
- ossuaire /ɔsɥɛʀ/ = ossuary (receptacle or place for the bones of the dead)
- c’est un paquet / sac d’os = he’s a bag of bones, he’s skin and bone
- mouillée / trempé jusqu’aux os = to be soaked to the skin, wet through
- donner un os à ronger à qn = to give sb something to keep them out of mischief (or) keep them quiet
- l’avoir dans l’os = to be done, to get egg all over one’s face (slang)
- il y a un os = there’s a snag / hitch
- tomber sur un os = to come across a snag
Os comes from the Latin os (bone), from the ancient Greek ὀστέον (bone), which is also the root of the prefix osteo-, and is not to be confused with ōs /ɔːs/, (mouth, face, entrance).
In Welsh os means ‘if’.