Questions about words borrowed by English from another language.

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0
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1answer
46 views

Should I pronounce is ksenia or zenia?

Xenia is from what I understand a directly borrowed word from Greek. It didn't come through french first or anything, so I see no reason to pronounce is 'z'enia. Why not pronounce as it would be ...
-1
votes
1answer
53 views

Why isn't “chez” used as a preposition in English?

From consulting a number of online English dictionaries, "chez" means "in the home of" or "at the home of" in French. So, for example, "Chez Panisse" translates to "at the home of Panisse". But, as ...
7
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4answers
207 views

Did British chef Jamie Oliver redefine “pukka” in 1999?

Recently I've been watching cooking programmes: MasterChef Italia (addictive), MasterChef USA (awful), followed swiftly by Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares, and then onto Jamie Oliver's acclaimed The ...
1
vote
1answer
82 views

Why is the word “Cyrillic” pronounced with a soft “c”?

Why is the word "Cyrillic" pronounced with a soft "c" at the start of the word, when the pronunciation of the word in Russian and Mongolian sounds more like a hard "c"?
0
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1answer
32 views

Yiddish loan words for the foolish & incompetent

Is there a Yiddish loan word to describe someone incompetent or amateurish, or who is a small-time player in a given field of endeavor? The closest I know of are general-purpose insults like shnook, ...
0
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1answer
73 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
2answers
363 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 ...
0
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3answers
207 views

How to use words of foreign origin with dubious meaning? [closed]

It is well-known that the English language has borrowed a lot of words from other languages throughout the centuries. Most of these have a meaning that is either the same as in the original language ...
0
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0answers
37 views

Term for Doing Something Inmoral and Unethical When Deserving a Handicap

Is there a term for doing the unmoral and unethical thing when you believe you deserve a handicap? Paul used a reading prompt against the rules because he had a speed and memory impediment.
11
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5answers
12k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
825 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 ...
4
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1answer
94 views

How did it happen that there are two different words “insulation” and “isolation” for virtually the same concept? [closed]

This question is not about the meaning of and the difference between the words insulation and isolation, it has been already answered here: What's the difference between "insulated" and ...
4
votes
1answer
76 views

Why Cosmonaut, not Astronaut?

An American space traveler is called in English an astronaut. A French space traveler is called in English an astronaut (not l'astronaute). A Japanese space traveler is called in English an ...
0
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2answers
129 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
102 views

Word or phrase for the beauty in pain, tragedy, damage, etc?

I'm looking for either a single word or a very short (really, as short as possible) phrase that could be defined (literally or metaphorically) as: "beauty that is possessed due to or despite the ...
0
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3answers
71 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
84 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
88 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
306 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
888 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
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8answers
112k 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
781 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
350 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
19k 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
68 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
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3answers
779 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
562 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
149 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
7k 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
171 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, ...
1
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1answer
130 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, ...
15
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
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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
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4answers
27k 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'?
42
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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
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6answers
424 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
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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
118 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
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2answers
125 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
573 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
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2answers
1k 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 ...
5
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2answers
13k 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
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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
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6answers
32k 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
70 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
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4answers
58k 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 ...