The Meaning of RSVP: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of the abbreviation RSVP? This guide will provide you with the meaning of RSVP, its usage, examples, and more!

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As Cher Horowitz once said, it does not say RSVP on the Statue of Liberty. If you’ve seen the abbreviation RSVP in media like Clueless or on invitations, you might be wondering what exactly these initials mean. Read on for the meaning of RSVP and so much more!

What Does RSVP Usually Stand For?

RSVP stands for “repondez s’il vous plait.” This is a French phrase that means please respond. RSVP is used to request a response to a party invitation. The RSVP date is a hard deadline for receiving a response card with a yes or no response.

If a guest cannot attend the event, they will RSVP no and send their regrets. If a guest can attend the event, they will RSVP yes. Often, a return envelope is included along with the RSVP cards if the invitation is sent by mail so people can easily send in their RSVPs. 

There are many cases where a host might request an RSVP to an event, such as a wedding invitation, formal event, or another important party. This French acronym is commonly used to request a reply so that the host can have a headcount for food or other event requirements.

How Can the Term RSVP Be Used in a Sentence?

This French initialism RSVP can be used in many different example sentences. Take a look at the sentences below to see how RSVP is often used. Then try coming up with your own example sentences for RSVP!

I RSVP’d no to the wedding invitation I received. I’m going to be traveling in July and sent my regrets.

No one has RSVP’d to my birthday party yet. I am getting nervous that all of the people I invited are busy that night in September. 

I am allowed a plus one to the event, so I will respond with a plural RSVP and write my girlfriend’s name as the second guest. 

I was invited to many different events on Facebook. My calendar is filling up, and I will not be able to RSVP yes to all of them.

What Is the Etymology of the Term RSVP?

The term RSVP originated as a French phrase. The French sentence “Répondez, S’il Vous Plaît” directly translates to “reply if it pleases you.” However, while this is a French term, RSVP is not used in France to respond to invitations. 

The term RSVP is now considered to be fairly old-fashioned in France. There are several different ways you can request a response on your invitation:

  • Prière de Répondre: A more formal phrase that means “pray do respond”
  • Réponse souhaitée avant la (date): Response wanted before the (date)
  • Merci de confirmer ta présence le plus tôt possible en contactant au (#) ou (email): Thank you for confirming your presence asap by calling (#) or (email)
  • Merci de me confirmer ta présence: Thank you for confirming your presence
  • Confirmez votre participation avant la [date]: Confirm your participation before the (date)
  • Réponse souhaitée: Response wanted

If RSVP is no longer used in French, why is it still used in English? In 1066, the Battle of Hastings occurred. William the Conqueror of Normandy invaded England, defeating King Harold II.

The Scandinavian king spoke Norse French and made this the official language used in the English court. Norse French merged with the Anglo-Saxon language, so we see many different French loan words in English. 

This term began to be used in the 10th century and made its way across the Atlantic to the United States in the 19th century. By this time, participation in all things French, like the French language, were considered a tenant of high society.

What Are Other French Terms That Are Used in English?

Surprisingly enough, numerous different French terms are used in English! Below are a few common terms that you may not know came from the French language from Your Dictionary

  • protégé: someone influenced by mentor
  • bon voyage: have good trip
  • rendezvous: pre-arranged meeting or meeting place
  • gaffe: clumsy remark or error
  • courage: bravery
  • genre: category, kind or type of written work
  • dinette: small dining room or dining set
  • en garde: be on your guard
  • connoisseur: expert in subject, usually food or art
  • excusez-moi: excuse me
  • apropos: opportune, pertinent, with regard to
  • bureau: government department or office
  • voilà: there it is
  • cliché: overused expression or idea; stereotype
  • fiance/fiancé: person engaged to be married
  • cul-de-sac: dead end on street
  • laissez-faire: belief that people cdo what they want without interference
  • faux pas: social blunder
  • au pair: nanny or babysitter who works for room and board
  • déjà vu: feeling you’ve experienced something before
  • papier-mâché: material made of paper pulp mixed with glue
  • clique: exclusive group of friends
  • je ne sais quoi: quality that’s hard to describe
  • début: the first performance of group
  • beau: love interest
  • chauffeur: person who drives others
  • debacle: complete failure; fiasco
  • carte blanche: having full authority to do what you want
  • au contraire: on the contrary
  • entrepreneur: someone who starts their own business
  • touché: good point
  • joie de vivre: joy of living
  • souvenir: memento or keepsake


The abbreviation RSVP stands for the French phrase répondez s’il vous plaît, which is used to confirm an invitation. This usage is common for many events where people are invited by mail, but today people also use digital RSVPs. 


  1. Rsvp Definition & Meaning | 
  2. 100+ Commonly Used French Words and Phrases in English | Your Dictionary 
  3. What is the English Translation of “RSVP”? | ThoughtCo.