How many words do you know in the American English language that actually are legitimate words in other languages. Such as "mula" or "rendezvous", "capisce"?


6 Answers

Ancient Hippy Profile
Ancient Hippy answered

My first wife was Italian and she knew all of the swear words and insults in Italian. I picked them up because she was always yelling them at me. I still use them today.

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Ancient One
Ancient One commented
OK I think I should have worded my question a little differently.
Aria Stark
Aria Stark commented
Oh, they are very, very many. Many words from French came, and many are borrowed from residents of other countries. When you communicate with different nationalities, it penetrates into your everyday life.
Linkoln Jakson
Linkoln Jakson commented
There is a very good aggregator of English courses - where you are trained directly from his carrier. There are many teachers and professions in them, too, a lot of mastered. In each will be borrowed words and their countless number. Here you need it. There you will master all the words that were not even suspected before.
Didge Doo Profile
Didge Doo answered

Unlike the English spoken in the rest of the world, American English has been enriched by many Yiddish words. (Most of them haven't made it to my side of the Pacific.)

While an excess of self-confidence may sometimes lead us into trouble, if we call it chutzpah it sounds admirable.

Kibbitz is so common that we scarcely realise that it's an import. No matter what you do there's always somebody who thinks they can do it better. If the word didn't exist we'd have to invent it.

What about klutz? My long-term self-description.

Oy vey is onomatapoeic. It sounds exactly the way it feels. It really deserves wider usage.

Shmaltzy? English would be poorer without this wonderfully dismissive adjective.

But my favourite, and one I learned from my years on Ask, is schmeckle which, I'm sure you know, is a pinkie-sized pecker.

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Virginia Lou
Virginia Lou commented
Yes! We have quite a sophisticated auto-censor...once it zapped me for the word 'bord3llo,'
Ancient One
Ancient One commented
Wow Didge you sound like an old New Yorker from Brooklyn.
Didge Doo
Didge Doo commented
It's a shame most of these Yiddish words haven't made the cut in Oz, Ancient. There's a definite enrichment of the language in using them.
Virginia Lou Profile
Virginia Lou answered

Dear Ancient One,

Well I have a few favorites for you...

First of all apropos, from the French à propos, with regard to this purpose. I like to go around saying, "apropos of nothing at all..."

Then, schadenfreude, German for the dark joy we take in the misfortune of another...awful word, but carries such a wallop...

And WHO would ever use the word "well" when Australia provides us with the lovely option of a billabong?

And so much wonderful English comes over from Yiddish...first of all the word klutz itself, from klots = wooden block.

Then klutz is further parsed out into schlemiel and schlimazel, the former whose fate it is to always be spilling the coffee, the latter the perennial one on whom it is the miserable destiny always the recipient being spilled on.

* * *

Oh and just one more...the soft romantic Chinook wind, from the eponymous Columbia River tribe here in Washington State - actually lots of words from them...

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Didge Doo
Didge Doo commented
Glad you mentioned schadenfreude. I was going to list it but decided to stick to Yiddish.
Virginia Lou
Virginia Lou commented
Yiddish is just incomparable as such a source....well, maybe both the Australian aboriginal words and the Washington Chinook too...
Jaimie  JT Profile
Jaimie JT answered

-à la carte


-Bon appétit

-Bon voyage






-Faux pas

-ménage à trois :O







Those words are all the same in English and French . I LOVE MAKING LISTS !!! :)

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Jaimie  JT
Jaimie JT commented
@ Virginia , "fresco" is Italian ...I know this cos I was married to an Italian ... So you can imagine we had some "interesting language" in our arguments :)
Virginia Lou
Virginia Lou commented
Oh that makes sense Jaimie, yes Italian...passionate language, I am sure!
Jaimie  JT
Jaimie JT commented
Yes it is :) it's lovely and full of passion :)

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