Is Chanel a French Word?

Have you ever wondered if the name Chanel is a French word? Chanel is a well-known luxury fashion brand that was founded by Coco Chanel in 1910.

The brand has become synonymous with high fashion, elegance, and sophistication. But what about the name? Is it truly French?

Origin of the Name Chanel

The name Chanel actually has an interesting backstory. Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, who later became known as Coco Chanel, was born in Saumur, France in 1883.

She was raised in an orphanage after her mother passed away when she was young. It was during her time at the orphanage that she learned how to sew and began to develop a passion for fashion.

When she established her own fashion house in 1910, she chose to use her nickname “Coco” as the brand name. However, it wasn’t until several years later that the name “Chanel” came into play.

The French Pronunciation of Chanel

While the name “Chanel” may not have originally been a French word, it is now commonly pronounced with a French accent. The correct pronunciation is “shuh-nel” with emphasis on the second syllable.

The Meaning Behind the Name

The true meaning behind the name “Chanel” is unclear. Some speculate that it may have been inspired by one of Coco’s favorite songs, “Ko Ko Ri Ko”, which was popular at the time and featured a chorus with similar sounding syllables.

Others believe that it may have been influenced by Arthur Edward Capel, who was one of Coco’s lovers and financial backers. Capel had a nickname for her – “La Petite Chérie” – which translates to “little darling”. It’s possible that this endearment may have inspired the use of “Chanel” as a brand name.

The Legacy of Chanel

Regardless of the origin of the name, there’s no denying the impact that Chanel has had on the fashion industry. Coco Chanel revolutionized women’s fashion by introducing comfortable and practical clothing options, such as trousers and suits, that were traditionally reserved for men.

Today, Chanel is still considered a symbol of luxury and high fashion. The brand is known for its iconic designs, including the little black dress and quilted handbags with chain straps.


So, is Chanel a French word? While the name itself may not have originated as a French word, it has certainly become associated with French culture and style. The brand’s legacy continues to inspire fashion designers around the world to this day.