Questions tagged [loanwords]

Questions about words borrowed by English from another language.

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9
votes
1answer
2k views

Why did English borrow verbs ending in -ish? [closed]

Why did English borrow verbs ending in -ish, but not in anything else, from French? This seems quite obscure because it didn't import the verbs from the infinitive French forms, but through some sorts ...
0
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1answer
69 views

Why have the pronunciations of some foreign words been eschewed during the process of induction into English?

Some foreign-language words were reasonably naturalised to preserve pronunciation — e.g. cañón from Spanish to canyon in English. Other words came into English retaining their original spelling and ...
1
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2answers
667 views

How people commonly pronounce gender neutral -@ or -x [closed]

More and more I see, especially in activist communities, Spanish-derived words ending in x or @ in order to neuter the gendering inherent in the original language. For example: latinx (or latin@) as ...
2
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1answer
103 views

Term for “the class of landlords”

I have heard in several spoken discussions a term (which sounds kind of French and is maybe related to the English verb "rent") for the class of landlords - people who live off renting out properties ...
-1
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1answer
207 views

Is an English word coined from Greek morphemes considered a loanword by native speakers of Greek?

Europeans and Americans often use Greek roots to coin new words for new concepts. For example, the telephone was invented in the United States of America, and the word telephone is itself derived from ...
1
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1answer
199 views

Are Yiddishisms strongly associated with a certain group or are they general to American English?

There are quite a few words of Yiddish origin in English, for example some more common ones (at least to me): chutzpah dreck shlep shmooze shmuck shtick spiel tuckus However, is there a significant ...
1
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2answers
148 views

Is the term “krapfens” popular/well-known in English? [closed]

The word krapfens means "donuts": in Italy it is quite common to see it in German as well as in English; I guess that's because Italian borrows many original expressions from foreign languages. It ...
0
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1answer
5k 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 ...
0
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3answers
543 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 ...
1
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1answer
2k 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"?
11
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5answers
1k 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 ...
2
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2answers
531 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, ...
-1
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3answers
488 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
76 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.
4
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1answer
563 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
6k 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 ...
3
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2answers
5k 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
238 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 ask,...
2
votes
1answer
894 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
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1answer
1k 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
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2answers
160 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). [...
0
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2answers
197 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 ...
4
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2answers
5k 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 ...
4
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2answers
455 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 ...
1
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1answer
476 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 ...
3
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2answers
362 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, bon-...
23
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6answers
4k 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 ...
2
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2answers
5k 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 ...
7
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1answer
15k views

Why is “Yosemite” spelled that way?

I'm not a native English speaker, but sometimes I get the feeling that the pronunciation of English words is random. Why is "Yosemite" is pronounced as "Yoh-Sem-Ee-Tee" and written as "Yosemite" and ...
47
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17answers
10k 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 https://academia.stackexchange.com/posts/comments/123681?noredirect=1 Part of Answer: I don't think that particular research ...
12
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6answers
877 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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3answers
254 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 ...
10
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2answers
202 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 ...
4
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2answers
11k 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 ...
0
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4answers
2k 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 ...
0
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1answer
155 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 ...
3
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3answers
3k 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 ...
1
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1answer
150 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
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2answers
11k 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 cold ...
9
votes
1answer
697 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 ...
5
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1answer
3k 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 ...
11
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8answers
4k 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
887 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 ...
7
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4answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
103 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 ...
6
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5answers
23k 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 ...
25
votes
6answers
10k 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 ...
1
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1answer
4k views

Words Starting with Double Consonants [closed]

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 ...
2
votes
2answers
711 views

“You just won the lottery? Chapeau!”

"You just won the lottery? Chapeau!" This is the first time I have seen such usage in English. Literally 'Chapeau' means 'hat', but the intention (that I get from the internet) is something like '...
0
votes
1answer
477 views

What does tympany mean? [closed]

There is tympanic cavity but also intestinal tympany (distended bowel). I cannot see relation. What does tympany mean?