A reader recently asked me to settle a bet she had with her husband – do you call a two door car a coupe, or a coupé?
Well, the answer really depends on whether you speak the Queen’s English, or you live on the other side of the Atlantic.
In Europe and the UK, a two door car is most definitely called a coupé.
The word comes from French, and means ‘cut’ – which makes sense considering it is 2 doors short of a sedan.
When you refer to a 2 door car in the States, this is how you pronounce it. In fact, The Beach Boys even wrote a song called ‘Little Deuce Coupe’, so don’t waste your time trying to convince anyone there that this is wrong – it’s part of American culture!
What you may not know is that coupe without the accent, and pronounced in the American way, has a couple of other meanings which span both the English and French languages.
In French a ‘coupe’ means a ‘cup’ (in the sense of a sporting trophy), a ‘bowl’, as in a ‘bowl of ice-cream’ (English also users ‘coupe’ in this fashion), and finally, a coupe is also the name given to champagne glasses which look like bowls on stems, and which you should never use because they make the bubbles dissipate too quickly. Stick to champagne flutes like these: