I would call them "Frenchisms" or some such -ism, but I figured I'd at least ask first. So is there a name for such adopted foreign phrases? Also, how about those adopted from languages other than French? Same deal?

I know neologisms are new terms or phrases that have yet to be made official, but that's not so relevant here, since these adopted phrases aren't exactly new.

  • 1
    You're probably talking about half the dictionary!
    – user774
    Feb 22, 2011 at 12:18
  • 3
    @IainMH: you're not that far off.
    – RegDwigнt
    Feb 22, 2011 at 12:21
  • How many of those words have been slightly altered though? Probably most of them. I was thinking more about words that are clearly foreign in nature, and unaltered (as the examples above that I had posted). I hear what you're saying though! :)
    – purefusion
    Feb 22, 2011 at 12:36
  • hors d'oeuvres was altered, if only because it apparently lost its signature œ
    – F'x
    Feb 22, 2011 at 12:42
  • bon appétit is another one. Oct 23, 2014 at 5:18

3 Answers 3


The term is loan words; I am not aware of any language-specific term other than Latinate words. Loan is a bit of a misnomer, though, for words that have become part of the English lexicon -- we're never giving them back.

  • 2
    Heh, gotta love permanent borrowing.
    – purefusion
    Feb 22, 2011 at 12:34
  • 1
    loanword (without hyphen) is also acceptable, and even seems to be the prefered spelling these days
    – F'x
    Feb 22, 2011 at 12:37
  • It's not all one way, 'le parking', 'le weekend', 'le sandwich' the Académie Française don't like it but...
    – BoldBen
    Sep 26, 2016 at 19:49

If there are circumstances in which you want an alternative to French loan word, I suggest gallicism.


I'd agree with @bye's assertion of 'loan words'. Many are of French origin, but quite a few are borrowed from languages from the Indian subcontinent and reflect the period of British Rule.

These include: Shampoo, Pyjama, jodhpurs, Calico, Doolally and many, many others. -

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