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.
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"?
I know about 13 words most are hi and bye in several languages.
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.
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...
-à la carte
-ménage à trois :O
Those words are all the same in English and French . I LOVE MAKING LISTS !!! :)