SYDNEY : France's President Emmanuel Macron may have had le vin rouge [only red wine] on his mind when he thanked Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his ''delicious wife'' for their warm welcome on his official visit.

Macron and Turnbull had navigated their way through several sensitive diplomatic issues at a news conference in Sydney on Wednesday, only for the president to make the linguistic slip while making closing remarks in English.

He thanked Turnbull and his wife, Lucy, for being good hosts and acknowledge the fine food and wine he had enjoyed on his visit, before exclaiming :

''I want to thank you for your welcome, you and your delicious wife for the warm welcome.''

The comment lit up social media, replacing discussion about the leaders deliberations on more weighty issues such as China's growing influence in the region.

But what exactly did Macron try to say? He may have had the word ''dileceux'' in mind, which, though sounding similar to ''delicious'' would better translate into ''lovely'' or ''delightful'' .

While more often used to describe a pastry or a meal, the word ''delicieux '' can also describe a person, even if it's a somewhat old-fashioned usage

Though Macron speaks better  English than several of his predecessors and and often speaks the language when abroad, his only experience of living in an English-speaking country is six months in the French Embassy in Nigeria.

It;s not the first time a stray comment    -in this case, unintentional-  on a high profile visit has overshadowed more official business.

Last year, US President Donald Trump praised French  first lady  Brigitte Macron for being in   ''such a good shape'' on a state  visit to France. [Reuters].


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