If you’ve ever been shopping for curtains, you’ll probably have come across ‘voiles’. These ultra-thin curtains offer a compromise between privacy and light dispersal; they’ll let natural light enter your home, while preventing those outside from peering in.
You might have noticed that the word ‘voiles’ looks a little French. This is because it is French– but what does the word ‘voile’ translate to?
It comes from a French term meaning ‘veils’ – which, if you take a look at a set of voile curtains, makes a lot of sense. Voiles are sometimes made from semi-permeable lace of the sort that women might have used to cover their faces, except here it’s being used to cover a window.
Pronouncing ‘voile’ correctly isn’t important if you’re shopping for voiles online, but if you’re going into a store – or even discussing your options with your significant other, it’s worth knowing how to pronounce the thing you’re contemplating buying.
So how do you pronounce the word ‘voile’?
Many shoppers might pronounce it to rhyme with ‘boil’ or ‘soil’. This pronunciation seems to have been accepted by some online dictionaries, but it’s difficult to escape the conclusion that this is simply because of how the word is spelt. When most of us see ‘oi’, we tend to say it - and this is a word that’s seen written down more often than heard out loud.
A more plausible pronunciation comes, as you might suspect, from French pronunciation guides. If you’ve heard someone shout ‘voila!’ after revealing something impressive, then you know how to pronounce ‘voiles’ – you’re simply shaving off the ‘a’ from the end of the word. The ‘s’ is silent, so you don’t need to worry about whether you’re talking about just the one voile curtain or a set of voiles.
So what’s the right answer? We’re going to side with the French here, but before we call the matter closed, let’s just say that it probably isn’t all that important. However you pronounce the word, people will almost certainly know what you’re talking about. What’s more, they’ll probably be too polite to correct you. That said, if you do get it right, you’ll surely impress everyone with your effortless command of the French language!
Shop our full range of voiles here.