Questions about words borrowed by English from another language.

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25
votes
5answers
860 views

Where on Earth is “penguin” from?

Fact or fallacy? It's one of those things you hear or casually read somewhere that sticks with you. The word penguin is derived from Welsh; pen refers to "head", while gywn means "white". Well, it's ...
0
votes
0answers
168 views

Word/Phrase List to Describe Different Types of Relationships

The Swedish language has a big list of the words which describe the various types of the relationships. Many of those words just were coined recently. There is even the word which describes the people ...
2
votes
1answer
101 views

Words Starting with Double Consonants

Double consonants often appear in the middle or at the end of a word like: kitty, Eiffel, thriller, brilliant bass, guess, basketball However, I wonder if there are any words (including ...
2
votes
2answers
160 views

“You just won the lottery? Chapeau!”

"You just won the lottery? Chapeau!" This is the first time I have seen such usage in English. Literally 'Chapeau' means 'hat', but the intention (that I get from the internet) is something ...
1
vote
1answer
59 views

What does tympany mean? [closed]

There is tympanic cavity but also intestinal tympany (distended bowel). I cannot see relation. What does tympany mean?
3
votes
2answers
163 views

How common is the French loanword “métier”?

Our daughter lives in Leeds and is a scientist too, although not in my field, her speciality is haematology. My son lives in Manchester at the moment, for the music scene, he says. He writes his ...
14
votes
6answers
2k views

When using the French word “sans” in an English sentence, should I use italics?

In the sentence, below, I am using the French word sans to mean without. Should sans be italicized? Or, should all of "sans human civilization" be italicized? Planet Earth sans human civilization ...
2
votes
2answers
141 views

Word for letters from a foreign or unknown language

I used to describe these characters as Cyrillic ("I don't understand the cyrillic text on this poster"), but I learned today that Cyrillic is an actual type of script/alphabet! Is there an English ...
0
votes
1answer
71 views

What is the correct usage of arriviste/parvenu? [closed]

In one of the episodes of the TV show Rosemary & Thyme the word arriviste/parvenu was used. Context how it was used: Person A considers person B as an arriviste/parvenu. Person A is rich and ...
2
votes
4answers
194 views

Is “chutzpah” used by non-Jewish English speakers?

Chutzpah is a term common to both Hebrew and Yiddish, and has been imported into English, at least for Jews. It means approximately audacity, nerve, insolence. Is chutzpah also used by non-Jewish ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

“Quyer” When and why did the spelling change so drastically?

The snippet above is taken from The Gentleman's Magazine (London, England), Volume 53, dated, 1783. It's only when you say Quyer out loud, do you realize what the word is. It is one of the ...
2
votes
1answer
396 views

Spelling of the word “connoisseur”

From what I gathered on the Web, "connoisseur" is spelled that way because it is derived from the old french verb "connoître" (to know) which has now been spelt "connaître" for close to two ...
20
votes
5answers
2k views

What does “bupke” mean?

There was the following passage in the New Yorker's (August 27) article titled, “A scandal at the C.I.A. May be.” : In January I (David Shafer, novelist) filed a Freedom of Information Act request ...
0
votes
3answers
209 views

Word for sharing an old experience with someone new

Jamais vu is when an experience that is old to you suddenly seems new. But I'm looking for something even more specific. Is there a word for that feeling you get when an old experience is refreshed ...
0
votes
1answer
393 views

Survey vs Surveil

Is survey just an Anglicisation of the loan-word surveil, or have the meanings split? http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/survey and http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/surveil suggests that ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

What led to the increased usage of “schtupping”?

I was listening to a television show the other day and one of the characters used "schtupping": schtupping — to have sexual intercourse with Dictionary.com notes that the term's origin is ...
1
vote
1answer
226 views

Where does the term “hardware” in computer science comes from?

The term Software was coined in 195x. And it was opposed the term Hardware, physical part of a computer system, which is tangible. But where does the term Hardware comes from (from which of the ...
10
votes
2answers
351 views

Is “kip” Chinese in origin?

While looking up the history of kip, I realized that the information about its origins is rather scant. The noun and verb to kip in BrEng is often said when a person wishes to take a short sleep or a ...
7
votes
3answers
960 views

Why is “poignant” pronounced /ˈpɔɪɲənt/?

I felt a little bit strange when I heard poignant pronounced as /ˈpɔɪɲənt/. It is also pronounced as /ˈpɔɪgnənt/, but the former seems to be more popular. A word stagnant has similar spelling, but ...
4
votes
3answers
691 views

Why are foreign words used in modern vernacular?

Why are seemingly foreign words such as hors d’œuvres, maître d’, garçon, and Gesundheit used in American vernacular?
4
votes
4answers
676 views

A French Phrase Similar to “Expertise”

I am looking for a phrase that is used occasionally in English as a near synonym of "expertise". For some reason, "coup d'mentarie" keeps going through my mind, but I don't believe this actually means ...
2
votes
1answer
85 views

A term for redundancy in loan words?

Unfortunately, I can only think of one example at the moment, but, sometimes a loan or borrowed phrase is redundant because it includes in it both the lending and borrowing languages' words for the ...
10
votes
4answers
6k views

Why is quixotic pronounced as it is?

Since "quixotic" was coined with Don Quixote as its basis, why is it pronounced "kwicks-OTT-ick" when it should by rights/origin be pronounced "Key-HO-tick"? It even sounds more onomatopoeiatic the ...
1
vote
0answers
33 views

Is there any guideline on the plural form of loanwords from Japanese? [duplicate]

I just saw a trailer of 47 Ronin. My first thought was "that doesn't sound right". We have 12 Monkeys and 13 Warriors. Why 47 Ronin? Then I recalled that there is a movie titled Seven Samurai. I ...
1
vote
2answers
307 views

When writing about Mongolian felt tent houses in English should the word “ger” or “yurt” be used?

I'm travelling in Mongolia at the moment and being a language buff I've been wondering whether if I were writing about my experiences here whether I ought to use the term yurt or ger when mentioning ...
7
votes
1answer
926 views

Why Abraham and not Avraham?

In the Hebrew scriptures Abraham's name is Avraham and not Abraham (אַבְרָהָם). Is has a v and not a b. The same goes for Rebecca, who is called Rivka in Hebrew. Both v and b sounds are represented by ...
1
vote
2answers
856 views

Is “martini” plural or singular?

Although frequently used incorrectly incorrectly in English, the borrowed Italian word paparazzi should be used for a group, while paparazzo is one intrusive celebrity photographer. The dictionary ...
2
votes
2answers
289 views

Use of the word 'together' as in the Norfolk dialect

In the Norfolk dialect, which I learned at my mother's and grandmother's knee, the word 'together'(pronounced 'tergatha') is used in an additional sense. If there are two people outside I might say ...
3
votes
1answer
310 views

When can the word “Noel” be used?

I came across the word "Noel" in a Christmas song recently. I only knew the French word "Noël" before so I looked "Noel" up in Leo. [Leo states] Noel also: Noël French - used especially ...
3
votes
2answers
718 views

Is “coyote” a loanword AND a calque?

This question comes directly from a line from the show Archer You, through some shady deal with the Border Patrol, sent us to south Texas to capture an individual named Moreno - Mexico's most ...
3
votes
2answers
239 views

Usage of macrons in Latin loanwords

I know that diacritics are often retained in loanwords in formal writing (cf. naïveté), but I haven't seen this done with direct adaptation of Latin words; i.e., per se. In Latin, per sē comes with a ...
0
votes
0answers
62 views

Should common foreign phrases such as “vice versa” be italicized? [duplicate]

I am writing a document in which phrases such as "et al.", "in vitro", and "ex vivo" are to be italicized. However, is a very common English (yet foreign) phrase such as "vice versa" to be ...
-3
votes
1answer
639 views

Many French loanwords lost their inflections (for example the irregular plural inflection x) when borrowed into the English language

except the gender inflection in words like fiancé and fiancée. Would the reason lie in the fact that maybe these words have not been around for a long period of time so they kept their original ...
8
votes
2answers
619 views

Have any pseudo-anglicisms become proper English words?

There are plenty of pseudo-anglicisms in other languages around the world: Handy, Pullunder, Showmaster and Beamer¹ in German. These words, though borrowed from English, are used differently from ...
0
votes
1answer
174 views

Is “paiement” an english word? [closed]

I'm wondering if the paiement word is an English word. It looks like a French word. Could you confirm that paiement is an English word?
0
votes
1answer
164 views

Words like Schadenfreude or Sauerkraut [closed]

What are some composite German words such as "Schadenfreude" or "Sauerkraut" that are commonly used in English and with no English equivalents?
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Meaning of the German “ersatz” in English [closed]

As a native German I know some well-known uses of German phrases, but I was astonished that a book from a British reporter I am reading today used "ersatz" without explanation. Is the word "ersatz" ...
1
vote
2answers
549 views

Do any UK place names have non-ASCII characters? [closed]

Are there any place names in the UK that have non-ASCII characters? I’m looking for any cities, towns, villages, etc. in the UK that use characters that aren’t in the basic ASCII range (code points ...
5
votes
0answers
430 views

How are Japanese words spelt in English? [closed]

When they are writing material in English, I sometimes see native speakers of Japanese misspell English words that were derived from Japanese. For example, I've seen "tunami" written instead of ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Is schmuck really an obscene word?

Schmuck is supposedly an obscene Yiddish term for the male sex organ, yet it appears all of the time in the media as an American idiom for a jerk. Can one use it in polite company?
11
votes
3answers
467 views

How should a person holding a foreign military rank be addressed?

While researching how to call a person that holds a rank at a foreign (non English speaking) military, I came to very confusing results: Wikipedia is not consistent on the issue: it sometimes gives ...
4
votes
2answers
10k views

How should an English speaker pronounce “vice versa”?

When using vice versa in spoken English, I tend to just completely Anglicise it and pronounce it vise VER-ser, with only one syllable in vice. The original would be something like VEE-cay VER-sa, but ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

From French “manœuvre” to English “manoeuvre”, does “œ” exist in English?

Sadly, I don’t have much to add from the title to this question: does œ exist in English, such as in the word manœuvre? The same question may also apply to what the French call the “e dans l’a” (e in ...
2
votes
1answer
803 views

What should be the plural of “kibbutz” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Plurals of foreign words A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. Since this type of a settlement is unique to Israel, ...
6
votes
5answers
1k views

Generic foreign words with specific English meanings

There are many words in English that are borrowed from other languages, but acquire a much more specific meaning along the way. For example, salsa in Spanish simply means "sauce", and could be ...
3
votes
7answers
7k views

Is there an equivalent of the spanish “que hueva” slang expression in English to denote that you feel lazy about doing something?

In Spanish slang, particularly in the west, the expressions "que hueva" or "me da hueva" are used, respectively, to convey that you are lazy about doing something. The context might be as follows: A: ...
1
vote
0answers
99 views

How to pluralize “Air de cour”? [closed]

An air de cour is a type of Baroque song. If I’m talking about several of these, would I say “we played some airs de cour”? Frankly, and especially since this is a foreign phrase (French), the thing ...
-2
votes
1answer
1k views

The growth of English

English is (to her credit) widely considered a language of .. mixed breeding, seeing as to how she accepts favours from just about anybody and everybody. What I'd like to know is how and by how much ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

Should the English word for noodles be ''lamen'' or ''ramen''? [closed]

The Chinese word for noodles is lamen, or la-mien, and the Japanese also call it lamen, using their hiragana/katana syllaby. So the word is spoken with the L sound in both China and Japan (Taiwan, ...
-2
votes
2answers
1k views

How do you decline nouns borrowed from languages with several categories for declining nouns (or none at all)?

English has two grammatical categories of number. One is the singular, and the other is the plural. Many nouns in English have different singular and plural forms. When nouns are borrowed from ...