Are you sure you're speaking English?

English is a West Germanic language, and as far as languages go – it is relatively young. As a result, there are loads of words in English that native speakers are often surprised to learn aren’t actually English at all. Many common words and phrases used in everyday English are actually German, French or Latin. In science and medicine you will find even more examples of this, but today lets focus on the everyday things…
Here are a few examples so you can see what I mean, how many more can you think of?
(angkst) [German]: dread and anxiety. “Sylvia’s teenage angst was nothing compared to the parental angst experienced by the two individuals whose duty it was to raise her.”

bona fide
(boh’na fide) [Latin]: in good faith; genuine. “For all her reticence and modesty, it was clear that she was a bona fide expert in her field.”

carpe diem
(kar’pay dee’um) [Latin]: seize the day. “So what if you have an 8:00 a.m. meeting tomorrow and various appointments? Carpe diem!”

caveat emptor
(kav’ee-ot emp’tor) [Latin]: let the buyer beware. “Before you leap at that real estate deal, caveat emptor!”

de rigueur
(duh ree-gur’) [French]: strictly required, as by etiquette, usage, or fashion. “Loudly proclaiming one’s support for radical causes had become de rigueur among her crowd.”

(dop’pul-gang-ur) [German]: a ghostly double or counterpart of a living person. “I could not shake the sense that some shadowy doppelgänger echoed my every move.”

fait accompli
(fate ah-kom-plee’) [French]: an accomplished fact, presumably irreversible. “There’s no use protesting—it’s a fait accompli.”>

faux pas
(foh pah’) [French]: a social blunder. “Suddenly, she realized she had unwittingly committed yet another faux pas.”

hoi polloi
(hoy’ puh-loy’) [Greek]: the common people. “Marie Antoinette recommended cake to the hoi polloi.”

(fer-boh’ten) [Ger.]: forbidden, as by law; prohibited. “That topic, I am afraid, is verboten in this household.”

(zite’guyst) [Ger.]: the thought or sensibility characteristic of a particular period of time. “She blamed it on the Zeitgeist, which encouraged hedonistic excess.”

You might also like:

  • Sorry, but we couldn't find anything useful.