Questions about words borrowed by English from another language.

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0
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1answer
28 views

Why isn't there a word for the super-type of people and businesses?

I was originally framing this question as a search for the 'right word' but the site's suggestions pointed me to a previous question that was almost identical. So I'll turn the question around and ...
0
votes
2answers
118 views

Phrases using the Arabic particle “al” as a separate word apart from “Al Qaeda” and “Al Jazeera”

Many words incorporated into English a long time ago have the Arabic particle "al" incorporated into them. For example, "algebra" and "alcohol". But does English have commonly used phrases with the ...
0
votes
1answer
41 views

First or second syllable accent for “tarot”

Is it acceptable to pronounce "tarot" with the accent on the second syllable? So, phonetically it would be pronounced "Ta-ROW." My own online research showed me that there were maybe one or two times ...
1
vote
1answer
70 views

Should I use 'leitmotifs', the plural of leitmotif, in academic English?

Should I, in an scientific book, use the word 'leitmotifs', the plural of leitmotif? Some dictionaries seem to know it in the plural form, but does it sound very weird or massively pretentious to the ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there a synonym for “schadenfreude” that sounds more colloquial?

Is there a more colloquial synonym for "schadenfreude"? I'm specifically looking for a noun that denotes a pleasure derived from other people's misfortunes or sufferings. Sadly, I couldn't find any ...
4
votes
2answers
85 views

Since when do scouts look, rather than listen?

Scout (verb) seems to be attested in English from late 14c.: "observe or explore as a scout, travel in search of information," from Old French escouter "to listen, heed" (Modern French écouter). ...
1
vote
4answers
241 views

What's the name for when a word changes its pronunciation because of how people read?

With greater literacy in the past 100 years, most English speakers are also proficient at writing. Sometimes due to the great divide between English spellings and the true pronunciation, people will ...
8
votes
1answer
797 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 been spelled "connaître" for close to two centuries. ...
29
votes
8answers
106k views

How did “sinister”, the Latin word for “left-handed”, get its current meaning?

Sinister is the Latin word for left-handed. What evolution of meaning turned left-handed into evil and threatening?
21
votes
5answers
743 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
335 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 ...
15
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2answers
18k views

Why is the “a” in “cocoa” silent?

Not being a native speaker of English, one of those words that tripped me up is “cocoa”. Besides having its vowels inverted from “cacao”; it also is pronounced exactly the same as “coco”, whereas ...
2
votes
1answer
57 views

How common is “kia ora” in New Zealand English?

As I understand it, the Maori greeting "kia ora" is used by many New Zealanders. How likely is this greeting to be used in New Zealand English by people who don't speak Maori? On one end of the ...
15
votes
3answers
682 views

Button up that frog, will you?

What is the etymology of frog? I'm referring to the elaborate braid fastenings often found on 18th and 19th century military costumes, not the amphibian. Wikipedia tells me Frogs and frogging ...
5
votes
1answer
427 views

Thrown by 'broncho.' Or is it 'bronco'? Or 'bronc'?

Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, first edition (1908) has this entry for broncho: Broncho (brŏn´kō), n. {Sp. bronco rough, wild.} A native or a Mexican horse of small size. {Western U.S.} Four ...
5
votes
1answer
114 views

Where did 'cahoot" come from, when did it first appear, and how did it acquire its pejorative sense?

According to Merriam-Webster's Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary (2003), cahoot, meaning a partnership or league, and usually expressed in the plural form "in cahoots," has a first known publication date ...
2
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the history of “nil” in British football /soccer?

In British football if neither team scores a goal, the score is said to be: nil-nil or nil-nil draw. Curiously, the winning team's results are always spoken first. So if Arsenal are playing home the ...
5
votes
3answers
6k 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?
4
votes
2answers
160 views

“Bon/bonne chance!”: spelling and loanword specifics?

The adjective bon crossed over the Channel "in phrases such as bon apétit (1860), literally "good appetite;" bon-ton (1744) "good style;" bon mot." (Online Etymology Dictionary) Also with bon, ...
2
votes
1answer
640 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
121 views

How to properly borrow words from other languages? [closed]

For example, if I took the Russian word "Toska" and transposed into an English word "tosk (pronounced as "təʊsk") and created such words and phrases as "toskful", "tosk-stricken", "toskfulness", "to ...
0
votes
1answer
2k 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, ...
14
votes
6answers
3k views

Should nouns borrowed from Japanese be pluralized?

As someone who has watched a lot of subtitled Japanese animation, it seems odd to hear a word such as ninja (used in the plural) in the dialogue and see it transliterated as ninjas. It somehow seems ...
1
vote
7answers
4k views

Does 'soi-disant' have a close English equivalent?

I considered 'self-proclaimed' but that, I believe, suggests an element of self-promotion (the proclamation aspect) whereas soi-disant, at least as I think of it, is more about self-presentation and ...
2
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
25k views

How is the word “qua” used?

I play Scrabble. I'm learning words with the letter 'q'. What is the usage of the word 'qua'?
1
vote
2answers
224 views

Adjective for a person who is constantly full of wonder/awe

I'm sure you've met someone like this; a person whose understanding of nature, structure and the universe leaves them constantly awed by the complexity of practically everything. I'm looking for a ...
41
votes
16answers
7k views

Is “act like a mensch” too localized for ELU readers (U.S. and/or British English)?

This question was motivated by an interesting comment that was made at http://academia.stackexchange.com/posts/comments/123681?noredirect=1 Part of Answer: I don't think that particular research ...
9
votes
6answers
405 views

Can foreign words be reduced into English morphemes?

In class today, during an activity when we were given the task of breaking down a list of words into morphemes, I had a disagreement with a professor who tried to convince me that the word ...
4
votes
4answers
12k views

Pronunciation of foreign words in American vs. British English?

One of the differences between modern US English (hereafter referred to as "American English") and British English is the way in which we pronounce foreign words, particularly those of French origin ...
2
votes
1answer
110 views

Is there an equivalent of diaeresis, but for consonants?

I know that diaeresis is used to show that two adjacent vowels are not a diphthong but should be pronounced separately, as in naïve or Zoë. Is there an equivalent mark or format in current ...
9
votes
2answers
120 views

Declined Latin nouns in English prose

In German it was customary to decline Latin words used in German prose. One might, for instance, speak of performing a reductionem ad absurdum, using the the accusative form of the word reductio when ...
10
votes
1answer
572 views

Expectaltee: A person who expects something

The word of the day: † expectaltee, n. Obs. rare. A person who expects something. [OED] You might ask how on the earth expectaltee is a word. Well, apparently it is a word but the origin is ...
4
votes
2answers
750 views

Why do American English speakers pronounce both syllables in “challah” equally?

I live in the US, and I've noticed that "challah" seems to be generally pronounced by Americans as something like /hala:/ (or possibly /ha:lə/), with either equal stress on both syllables or a slight ...
4
votes
2answers
12k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Etymology of “Spaghetti and gravy”

In Nero Wolfe "Before I die", the gangster's sidekick asks for spaghetti and gravy. After Wolfe's chef Fritz prepares him spaghetti with the type of gravy used for roast beef, it turns out that the ...
21
votes
6answers
30k views

“Czar” vs “tsar” - origins and pronunciation

How did the word come into English with the two variants czar and tsar? The 'ts' spelling is a transliteration of the Russian 'царь', but the 'cz' spelling is what interests me more. To me it looks ...
0
votes
1answer
66 views

Why do all new words come from English? [closed]

English used to import words from other languages. I was listening to a French station and they used the words 'hate-free zone' and 'selfie'. The last time I remember English using importing a foreign ...
25
votes
4answers
56k views

Why is the word 'bologna' pronounced like 'baloney'?

Why is the word 'bologna' (as in a bologna sandwich) pronounced so differently from the way it's spelled? The word 'lasagna' isn't pronounced 'lasagney'... The American sausage is derived from a ...
25
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
151 views

Is “terroir” never translated?

It seems that terroir is always used in English as the original in French. Wikipedia proposes a somewhat vague translation: Terroir can be very loosely translated as "a sense of place" But is ...
8
votes
7answers
12k views

How did “gesundheit” work its way into common American usage?

Once upon a time I was hanging out with a fairly international group of people. Somebody sneezed, and one of the Americans reflexively responded, "Gesundheit!" A German in the group seized on the ...
8
votes
5answers
28k views

“Shnide”? “Schneid”? Which is it and what's this term's origin?

"Getting off the shnide." (Obviously I'm not sure of the spelling.) It's an expression I hear almost exclusively in sports commentary to indicate a team has finally won a game after a protracted ...
1
vote
1answer
46 views

What's the best way to format a loan word in an English sentence?

Say I have a word from another language that I am very fond of and I want to just plop it in a sentence without trying to translate it. Should I use italics? Example: I've never cared for winter ...
2
votes
2answers
500 views

English equivalent of tsundere

I wonder if anyone has an approximation for the Japanese “tsundere”? Tsundere (ツンデレ, pronounced [tsɯndeɽe]) is a Japanese character development process that describes a person who is initially ...
10
votes
5answers
11k 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 ...
11
votes
9answers
2k views

Are there good English expressions for “raison d’être” and “joie de vivre”? [closed]

I know the two phrases have been adopted into the English lexicon, but raison d’être and joie de vivre are phrases, not words. As phrases they certainly sound better in French than would their ...
1
vote
2answers
124 views

The noun “alternative” [closed]

If I am not mistaken, the noun alternative has roots in the Latin word alter, which translates to: the other (of two). My question would be: why does the word alternative have plural in English? It ...
3
votes
1answer
89 views

When to use 'al' in front of 'Qaeda'?

I've noticed over the years that certain publications use 'al' in front of 'Qaeda' in certain situations, and others do not. From the little I know, I understand that 'al' is the definite article in ...
7
votes
4answers
770 views

French (and, hey, others too) equivalent of “anglicize”

Is there a preferred word that means "to change (a word) to sound (or otherwise appear) as if it came from French"? I've found both "Frenchize" and "Francize" with a web search. If the latter is ...