A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi": The Origin of Foreign Words by Chloe Rhodes

By Chloe Rhodes

English does not borrow from different languages. English follows different languages down darkish alleys, knocks them over, and is going via their wallet for free grammar. -James D. Nicoll prepared alphabetically for simple reference, a definite "Je Ne Sais Quoi" is an obtainable lexicon of international phrases and words utilized in English, containing every little thing from aficionado (Spanish) to zeitgeist (German). inside of you can find translations, definitions, origins, and a descriptive timeline of every item's evolution. Entries comprise: ? los angeles carte: from the cardboard or of the menu (French) Fiasco: entire failure (Italian) Dungarees: thick cotton cloth/overalls (Hindi) Diaspora: dispersion (Greek) Smorgasbord: bread and butter (Swedish) Cognoscenti: those that be aware of (Italian) Compos mentis: having mastery of one's brain; with it (Latin) Attractively packaged with black and white illustrations, this whimsical but authoritative e-book is a brilliant reward for any etymologically involved person. Use this ebook to reacquaint your self with the English language, and you will be compos mentis very quickly.

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Extra info for A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi": The Origin of Foreign Words Used in English

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The plural also refers to the documentation that proves legitimacy, so an employer might ask to see an applicant’s bona fides before offering him a job. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, prepare to be amazed—may I proudly present Bernice, our bona fide bearded lady. Bonhomie simple good-heartedness (French) “Bonhomie” is the quality of good-natured friendliness—the term might be applied to someone who enjoys amiable conversation and has an affable disposition. The phrase first appeared in English literature in the mid-1800s and is still used in reference to warm, outgoing people, often men.

The British and American tradition of throwing confetti at weddings is related to the very old tradition of throwing rice, dates, or nuts that may reach back beyond ancient Rome or Egypt. It brings good luck and represents fertility and abundance. In Italy the earliest form of confetti may have consisted of sugar-coated nuts and similar confections. In modern-day, eco-sensitive times, flower petals are often preferred by licensed wedding venues, but the sentiment and significance remain unchanged.

The waiter left Mr. McNair to pore over the menu of single malts at his leisure—the gentleman’s florid complexion marked him out as something of a whisky connoisseur. Contretemps against the time (French) In the seventeenth century a “contretemps” was a mistimed or inopportune thrust in a fencing bout. This meaning extended in English use by around 1770 to cover any jarring mishap that was out of pace with social mores. We still use the term to describe an unexpected interruption in normal proceedings, but since the mid-twentieth century, it has been used more widely to mean an embarrassing set-to or minor skirmish.

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