Questions about words borrowed by English from another language.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (2)

12
votes
3answers
2k views
+50

Why isn’t the plural of “a Mercedes” said “several Mercedeses”?

In referring to brands of cars, people speak of a Mercedes just like they do a Ford, a Chevy, or an Audi. But those other brands all seem to have a distinctive plural version: Fords, Chevies, Audis. ...
-4
votes
1answer
70 views

How are new words created? Centuries ago there was no organization that created new words [on hold]

some of the words are so hard to pronounce for me like unequivocal,inadvertently,or entrepreneur, whoever created entrepreneur probably had been drunk with a vibrating tongue.Google is a new word ...
15
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
241 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 ...
18
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
1answer
77 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
11k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
5k views

Why is the initial “ts” sound (e.g “tsunami”) pronounced as “s”?

Why is the word "tsunami" often pronounced as "sunami"? Can English speakers pronounce "ts"? Is it because the initial "ts" looks foreign?
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 ...
0
votes
3answers
72 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
130 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
1k views

What is the origin of the place name “Abbottabad?”

We know that Abbottabad is named after Major James Abbott, an officer in the Indian Army who founded the town. But where does the "...abad" come from? Does it have any relationship to the English word ...
8
votes
7answers
1k views

Why are there so few words in English that are derived from Welsh?

Why are there so few words in English that are derived from Welsh? Wikipedia mentions only 11.
8
votes
3answers
36k views

Does the casual use of “a la ___” in English preserve the French meaning?

In English, we use a la carte and a la mode, but it is also common for people to add their own word to the basic construction. For example, one might comment on someone's dancing: He showed us ...
17
votes
5answers
15k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
94 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
349 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 ...
23
votes
7answers
56k 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?
5
votes
3answers
461 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?
1
vote
2answers
365 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
7k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
13k 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'?
0
votes
3answers
488 views

English from Icelandic?

Why is it that so many English words, as one traces their etymologies, run through Icelandic as one goes back?
4
votes
4answers
615 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
47 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
886 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, ...
1
vote
0answers
31 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
5k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
179 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

German words in common English [closed]

Just curious: Which words are often used in everyday English? I came across the Wikipedia article about List of German expressions in English. There are listed thousands of words. I was surprised ...
2
votes
6answers
5k 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
2answers
201 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
618 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
434 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
227 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 ...
2
votes
5answers
617 views

Why do some non-English words become English words?

Why do some non-English words become English words even though there is already are English words meaning the same thing that are more universally understandable? For example, He received kudos ...
17
votes
3answers
30k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
416 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
187 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
781 views

Interjection “et voilà”

I know et voilà is a French interjection and means there it is. It is very much used in the US. Why is the use of et voilà so popular in the US? Which historical fact has made it so popular?
4
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
467 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 ...
-3
votes
1answer
466 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 ...
13
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

fait accompli – to italicize, or not to italicize

Background I was looking up the rule about italicizing foreign phrases and found an apparent consensus that the criterion is if the phrase is familiar. Well, who gets to decide that? I know perfectly ...
2
votes
1answer
629 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" ...
0
votes
1answer
112 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
151 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?