Questions tagged [loanwords]

Questions about words borrowed by English from another language.

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Why is "hammock" spelled the way it is?

The word hammock comes from Spanish hamaca. type of hanging bed, 1650s, alteration of hamack, hamaca (1550s), from Spanish hamaca, from Arawakan (Haiti) word apparently meaning "fish nets" (...
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0 votes
0 answers
35 views

Why are legislatures called by their native language names but not heads of government?

Why do English-language news articles and other sources often refer to legislatures or legislative chambers by their name in the predominant language of the country (Lok Sabha, Duma, Knesset, Diet, ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
78 views

Why keep useless diacritics? [closed]

Why foreign physicists' names retain diactrics when the phonetic meaning of these diactrics becomes irrelevant? "Ampère" uses "è" to indicate which type of French "e" to ...
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0 votes
0 answers
20 views

What word/phrase means "the feeling of the time/era"? [duplicate]

I think I recall encountering a phrase that means roughly "the characteristic feeling of a particular historical time". For example, this word/phrase could be applied to the French ...
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0 votes
0 answers
49 views

How to Form Plural Nouns of Borrowed German Terms?

Just signed up for this site and think it's great. Yesterday I encountered the artistic term 'Sturm und Drang' (roughly: storm and stress), a term that describes the literary and artistic movement ...
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3 votes
1 answer
120 views

Capitalise or not foreign demonyms when original language uses lower case and English has no equivalent?

In English we capitalise demonyms. Someone from Paris is a Parisian. When we insert words from other languages we indicate the non-English nature of the word with quotation marks or italics. "He ...
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2 votes
2 answers
259 views

What is the true etymology of "algebra"?

This is more of a question for Arabic stack exchange if there was such a thing, but anyways: The OED suggests as the etymology of the term "algebra" Etymology: < post-classical Latin ...
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0 votes
0 answers
122 views

When should Latinisms be Italicized? [duplicate]

Some Latinisms are usually italicized in English whereas some Latin loanwords are not, even in the same text. However, I cannot find any clear pattern. Are there clear rules or guidelines about it? ...
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1 vote
0 answers
36 views

Nullifidan, heresiarch, latitudinarian-- Is there some database where I can find other obscure words describing "types" of people?

I only come across these really obscure words while reading. I really love the weight they carry. Do you know of any place where I can find more words of the same family? If not, do you know any other ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
141 views

Why is a coffee bean not called “coffee”?

Why is a coffee bean not called ‘coffee’ when it obviously originated from there, it seems they reversed it to the coffee drink. Even the Google search engine refers ‘Coffee’ as a drink and not the ...
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2 votes
3 answers
1k views

Why do cer­tain con­so­nant clus­ters oc­cur only at the start of a syl­la­ble but oth­ers only at the end?

You may have no­ticed that in English, some con­so­nant clus­ters can oc­cur only at the start of an English word while other con­so­nant clus­ters can oc­cur only at the end. For ex­am­ple, the com­...
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8 votes
4 answers
736 views

Is using the plural form (in place of the original singular) of these Latin/Greek loan words acceptable?

The following Latin/Greek singular vs. plural errors make me cringe every time: bacterium - bacteria criterion - criteria millennium - millennia phenomenon - phenomena It's extremely typical for an ...
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0 votes
0 answers
26 views

Another form of aficionado

Does a form of the word aficionado exist where it refers to the person. Perhaps something like an aficionè ? Similar to how habituè is a habitual person or someone who does something habitually. ...
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12 votes
4 answers
4k views

Why is stigmata a plural of stigma?

When I first looked this word up on Dictionary.com, I found entries not for it, but instead stigma. I was baffled. Words in the English language usually follow the -(e)s pluralization pattern, but why ...
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10 votes
2 answers
5k views

Is the word "psithurism" really used in English?

‎ I have seen people using this word to refer to the sound wind makes as it moves through trees. However, 1. No reputable dictionary seems to have acknowledged this term as a valid english word. 2. ...
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0 votes
0 answers
62 views

Are there english/anglish words for raw meat?

Are there any words for raw meat? This can mean raw fermented meat, raw cultured meat, raw fresh meat, raw high meat, raw spoiled meat. And can include specific types of meat, such as poultry, pork, ...
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1 vote
0 answers
20 views

Plural of irregular or foreign acronyms [duplicate]

What is the correct way of pluralizing acronyms in which the last word is either irregular or a foreign word? For example: radiation transparent medium (RTM) What would be the plural of the acronym ...
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1 vote
1 answer
532 views

How many English words are of native origin?

What percentage of current English words are of native Anglo-Saxon origin? I have seen stats about how large percentages of the English words currently in use come from French, Latin, or German ...
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2 votes
1 answer
109 views

How did zugzwang become an English word?

The word zugzwang means a move in chess which forces your opponent to make a detrimental move; a move causing all of your opponent's options to be moves which will worsen their situation. Although it ...
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  • 358
0 votes
1 answer
72 views

When does a 'loan word' cease to be defined as such?

At what point does a 'loan word' cease to be defined as such? Does it depend on for how long, or frequently a word has been used?
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15 votes
2 answers
2k views

Term for anticipating counterarguments and rebutting them

There's this term for the rhetorical device of anticipating counterarguments and rebutting them, but I simply can't remember it. Now I know what you're thinking - did you try googling it? Well I did,...
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17 votes
5 answers
5k views

Does the word “uzi” need to be capitalized?

"Uzi" is not contained in any Scrabble® dictionary that I can find online. I am assuming that the Scrabble® powers that be are treating it as a proper noun. However, after reading the Wikipedia ...
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0 votes
1 answer
112 views

The word "Comparison"

Declare - declaration. Proclaim - proclamation. Why isn't compare - comparation? For the 3 years that i've been studying the language intensively i've been always intuitively reading "comparison" as "...
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4 votes
1 answer
1k views

Is "adios" an English word now?

I recently heard an American being interviewed use the word "adios" casually in a sentence. The particular sense of the word seemed to be a sort of permanent "good bye." Since the speaker was (as far ...
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8 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why is the English word of Chinese origin "Shih Tzu" used to refer to a dog breed not known in Chinese as "Shih Tzu"?

It is well known that it comes from a Wade-Giles transcription of the Mandarin Chinese word for "lion dog" (獅子狗 shih1-tzu0-kou3, from 獅子 "lion" + 狗 "dog"). This is part is indubitable. There's no ...
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3 votes
6 answers
16k views

Sad and Melancholy yet Beautiful

I have been struggling to find a word that I, at one time, had seen in my vocabulary lessons. I am trying to describe something that is "beautiful or attractive" yet also possessing "sadness or ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
86 views

Are words from other languages(especially European ones) also appropriated in the English language, like they do in case of Hindi/Sanskrit?

I observe that there are many words in Hindi/Sanskrit, the pronunciation of which, are appropriated by the International(especially US) English speaking crowd, for example:- Yoga Avatar Ramayan ...
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2 votes
2 answers
147 views

how did the word CHARLATAN make its way into English [closed]

How did the word charlatan find its way into English?
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0 votes
1 answer
533 views

Do you capitalize yakuza?

When referring to the infamous Japanese criminal organization, which sentence would be correct? The yakuza member picked up his glasses, scooped some of the jewelry and loose change into his ...
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10 votes
2 answers
1k views

Schools and Shoals

School, as a group of fish, entered Middle English: late Middle English: from Middle Low German, Middle Dutch schōle, of West Germanic origin; related to Old English scolu ‘troop’. (NOAD) Shoal, ...
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1 vote
1 answer
67 views

A future loan-word for English that means the protective love one feels for children not your own [closed]

I am looking for words for a research project and possible commercial venture. Is there one word in any other language that specifically means the protective love one feels for children that are not ...
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12 votes
2 answers
1k views

Word for a cushy position awarded to a crony? [duplicate]

I'm struggling to recall this word. If I recall correctly, it's of French origin. My search has so far been fruitless. The nearest equivalent I came up with was the idiom pulling strings but that is ...
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12 votes
1 answer
774 views

Adding -s to French city names

This seems to be fairly common pattern. The modern English names of several French or French-related cities seem to add s for no obvious reason. Marseille > Marseilles Lyon > Lyons Tanger > ...
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0 votes
1 answer
214 views

"A comment is in place"

Does the following collocation exist in English? a comment is in place If not, do you recognize it as an improper loan from another language? It is used by a writer to communicate that, before ...
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0 votes
0 answers
43 views

Have any English words been turned foreign only to be then used again in English in an altered state? [duplicate]

What are some examples of English words that got taken into use in a foreign language in a changed state, and then subsequently re-entered the English language in state B or even state C.
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12 votes
7 answers
4k views

For native speakers, what are dumplings? [closed]

When I started to learn English, my teacher told me dumplings is a translation for Chinese 饺子 (a food, also widely found in Japan or Korea). But after a few years, I was surfing on the internet and ...
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2 votes
1 answer
155 views

How to know if a word borrowed from another language is now an official English word [closed]

I posted here a question asking how to say "kilig" (a Filipino word that means a feeling of joy, agitation, or happiness felt when someone you fancy, love, or like makes an unexpected gesture of ...
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8 votes
2 answers
425 views

History of additional sounds introduced to English

Today I was curious about the rarity of the consonant cluster sr in the English language. I found a WordReference forum from 2006 that asked about the matter. The general response is that because ...
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3 votes
4 answers
1k views

What's an example of a 'cheville' word in english?

The dictionary.com word of the day is 'Cheville' and it explains it as such: A word or expression whose only function is to fill a metrical gap in a verse or to balance a sentence. Can anyone give ...
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3 votes
1 answer
94 views

Rule/pattern about using loan words for monarchs?

We call the monarchs of Germany, Russia and Ancient Egypt "Kaiser", "Tzar/Czar" and "Pharaoh" respectively, but the monarchs of France, Spain, China and Japan "king" or "emperor". Is there any sort ...
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51 votes
3 answers
19k views

Is the etymology of "salary" a myth?

Since, perhaps forever, I had always ‘known’ that the English word salary was derived from the Latin salarium, to the time when Roman soldiers were paid in salt for their service. Salt was a highly-...
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2 votes
2 answers
578 views

Do you italicize the contraction attached to a foreign word?

I know you italicize words in other languages when writing. But what if you add a contraction? Is it abuela's or abuela's?
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0 votes
2 answers
4k views

What is the definition of 'Wagenheims'? [closed]

I'm reading an English translation of Notes from the Underground by Dostoevsky and I came across the sentence They express the consciousness that you have no enemy to punish, but that you have ...
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6 votes
1 answer
336 views

What is the first known Japanese loan word that entered the English language?

I would like to ask here a similar question I have asked in the Spanish language stack. It is known that nowadays the English language has a lot a words of Japanese origin. But what was the first one ...
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1 vote
3 answers
1k views

What is the purpose of changing "Nürnberg" to "Nuremberg" in English language?

For the longest time ever I assumed these are two different places and was very confused about never knowing where Nuremberg is. Recently I found out that Nuremberg is the English form for Nürnberg. ...
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  • 121
1 vote
1 answer
1k views

Single word for 'greater purpose'

I have heard this word, but I just can't remember it. It is a 3 to 5 letter word, probably 2 syllabled, and begins with letter T. I am not totally sure if it's an English word. The context I have ...
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10 votes
2 answers
3k views

The history of the English "postmeridian"

There's a question on English Language Learners that's been making the rounds recently, it's been on the Hot Network Questions list since January 5 this year and has attracted something like 36,000 ...
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1 vote
1 answer
926 views

What nouns of German origin should be given capital letters?

On another post an interesting fact has just been discovered about the OED's treatment of nouns adopted into English from German (loan-words). A lot of them e.g. Nazi are spelled with a capital ...
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2 votes
0 answers
2k views

When did the pronunciation of "piranha" change?

"Piranha" is a Portuguese rendering of a Tupi word referring to a sharp-toothed fish with an unfortunate reputation. The correct pronunciation of this word is something like /pɪˈɹɑːnjə/. However, the "...
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  • 121
1 vote
1 answer
527 views

Correct spelling of Chinese name in English? [closed]

In Buddhism, there is a deity called Skanda. In Chinese, his name is Wei Tuo. See for example this link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skanda_(Buddhism) However, my question is, what is the actual ...
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