Au fond – Definition & Meaning

Au fond is a French phrase that has been adopted into the English language. It is a versatile phrase that can be used in various contexts. In this article, we will explore the meaning of au fond, its origin, and its usage in different dictionaries. We will also look at the associations, synonyms, and antonyms of au fond, as well as some examples of how it can be used in a sentence.


Au fond is a French phrase that means “at the bottom” or “in the depths.” It can also be used to mean “fundamentally” or “essentially.” In English, it is often used to express the underlying or true nature of something.


The phrase au fond originated in France and has been used in the French language for centuries. It is derived from the Latin word “fons,” which means “source” or “spring.” The phrase was later adopted into the English language and is now commonly used in both French and English.

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, au fond means “at the bottom” or “fundamentally.” Merriam-Webster defines it as “in essence” or “fundamentally.” The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “in reality” or “essentially.”


Au fond is often associated with the underlying or true nature of something. It can also be associated with the depths or the bottom of something, such as a body of water or a container.


Some synonyms for au fond include fundamentally, essentially, in essence, at heart, and in reality.


Antonyms for au fond include superficially, on the surface, and outwardly.

The same root words

The same root words as au fond include “fond,” which means “liking” or “affection,” and “fountain,” which is derived from the Latin word “fons.”

Example Sentences

  1. “Au fond, he was always a kind and generous person.”
  2. “She seemed happy on the surface, but au fond, she was struggling with depression.”
  3. “I didn’t like the way he spoke to me, but au fond, I knew he meant well.”
  4. “The treasure was hidden au fond of the ocean.”
  5. “Au fond, I think we all want the same thing – to be happy and fulfilled.”
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