Do You Know the Meaning of These Foreign Words That We Use in English?

It all started with the fact that I could not remember if the aperitif was a drink before or after dinner. (Correction: I said it was a pre-dinner drink – the “lane” in the aperitif reminds of the prefix “pre” – then my husband said he thought it was after dinner, then I doubted myself.) What, how- the one who had been teaching and speaking French for years bothered me.

There are many of these words that we have borrowed from other languages ​​and use with varying degrees of frequency, but perhaps not often enough for their definitions to be irrevocably rooted in our minds. Whether you once knew but forgot, or never knew but would like to, here is a rundown of some of the foreign words commonly used in English. Do you know what they all mean?

(By the way, an aperitif is a drink before dinner. It’s a digestif that comes after because you are digesting . I love how it works.)

Ad nauseam : Latin for “sickness” or, to an excessive extent. She repeated her argument ad nauseam until her brother gave up and agreed .

Al dente : literally “to the teeth” in Italian. It describes how to (briefly) cook pasta to achieve the perfect consistency that remains firm. Not to be confused with “al fresco”, where pasta should be eaten “outdoors” whenever possible.

Annus horribilis: I think it’s safe to say that 2020 was annus horribilis , which means “terrible year” in Latin. (And 2021 is not much better.) After all the setbacks, we hope 2022 will be the much-needed annus mirabilis (wonderful year).

Apparatchik : Translated from Russian, the word “apparatus” means “party machine”; thus, anyone who is thoughtlessly stuck inside the said apparatus is an “apparatchik”. Traditionally, this word meant a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It has become a derogatory descriptor for anyone who obediently bears bureaucratic or political responsibility.

Blitzkrieg : In German, the term means “lightning war”, an offensive war tactic that Nazi Germany used during World War II to deliver swift and swift strikes against its enemies using ” air force and mechanized ground forces in close coordination .” Now people use it to describe things like sports and aggressive ads. For example: A marketing blitzkrieg for a film paid off with huge box office grosses.

Cognoscenti : Italian for people with superior knowledge. The meaning of the play was so stupid that it could only be known to connoisseurs of the theatrical world .

Coup de grâce : in French it is a “strike of mercy” or a blow by which a mortally wounded man is mercifully killed. His dismal LSAT performance was a decisive blow to his legal career. ( Not to be confused with the French pièce de résistance , which means “masterpiece”.)

De facto : in fact or in practice, regardless of the official legal status. Sally became the de facto leader of the book club.

Gesundheit : You’ve probably heard (or said) this word after sneezing. In use, it is the German equivalent of bless you, but literally means health.

Guerrilla : You may have heard the terms ” guerrilla warfare” or ” guerrilla marketing” . In Spanish, this word means “little war”. As a noun, it is a person who engages in irregular wars of aggression such as ambushes, raids, or sabotage; as an adjective, it means to be unconventional or radical.

A fait accompli: In French, “fait accompli” means something that has been done or decided and cannot be reversed. Example: do we have the ability to change the outcome or is it a fait accompli?

In place : in the starting position. The remains of the emperor were discovered at the site after a thousand years .

Ipso facto : from Latin means “the fact itself” or “the fact itself.” For example: Toddlers love to play with spoons and pots; ipso facto they don’t need expensive toys .

Modus operandi : The most commonly used abbreviation “mo” stands for mode of work (also known as habits, methods, or general mode of action). Jane always checks her work at least five times before submitting; it’s just her mo

Nolens volens : Ok, it’s not often used (or perhaps ever outside of legal and arcane literary circumstances), but it should be! In Latin, it literally means “unwilling or unwilling”, as well as like it or not. Mom wants us all to dress up, so nolens volens this is happening . (And it is pronounced the way you think it is, in the perfect rhymed manner, making it … a chef’s kiss.)

Quid pro quo: literally something for something or a favor for a service. Many social media influencers enter into a quid proxy agreement with brands where they promote the company in exchange for products.

Sangfroid : French for “composure”, this term is used to refer to (sometimes excessive) composure or composure. Few have the composure to be a pediatric surgeon.

Sine qua non: something absolutely necessary (literally “without which there is no”). Pumpkin aroma is a must for seasonal fall baked goods.

Spiel : Pronounced “shpeel,” this Yiddish term means “a verbose line of often extravagant conversations,” often used to sell or promote something. I can’t stand the long chatter from the car salesman; can we buy our next car online?

Verboten : German for “forbidden”. Example: Do these kids know Santa isn’t real yet, or is this topic banned ?

Vox populi : Voice of the people; aka popular opinion. According to vox populi, slideshows are the devil.


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