From technology terms to pop culture references, English words are popping up and being adopted in other languages with remarkable speed. It’s true that some people love this, while others grumble about it, but that’s not what I want to talk about here. Instead, I’d like to pay homage to some of the foreign words and phrases we don’t want to be without in the English language. Native speakers of languages other than English, this post is for you!
Aficionado: When it comes to politics, my sister is a bona fide aficionado; she can’t resist election news or a political discussion. The Spanish word aficionado refers to a big fan or enthusiast of something.
Alfresco: Grab the wine! This Italian word means outside in the open air, but in English, we usually use this word when talking about food, like dining alfresco.
Déjà vu: Didn’t we talk about this word before… A phenomenon that can be fun or even scary, the French word déjà vu refers to the often strange feeling that a situation or an event has happened in the past.
Doppelgänger: You know that woman you saw at the store who at first you thought was your best friend, but then you realized it was someone else entirely? Well, your best friend’s got a doppelgänger! This German word refers to someone’s false or unreal double.
Femme fatale: We’ve all seen them in the movies as sexy spies or everyday heartbreakers – those alluring women who might be hiding a secret or two or some hidden intentions. This French word, femme fatale, refers to an attractive woman, especially a dangerous one.
Nom de plume: Writers are a special bunch. They don’t want just any name; they need a carefully-considered nom de plume. This French word refers to a pen name.
Verboten: For all the rule-makers and rule-challengers out there, the German word verboten, meaning something that has been prohibited or forbidden, especially by someone with authority, is a particularly delightful word.
Now dear readers, what are your favorite foreign words used in the English language?