Search This Blog

Friday, April 13, 2012



Words adopted from another language and used commonly in everyday dialogue are loanwords. Many loanwords are used so regularly in writing and conversation that most of us think they originated in the English language. Other loanwords, ones not employed as often, lend themselves to misuse. Successful use of a more obscure loanword depends of the writer's skill and the reader's knowledge. Loanwords are generally found in the dictionary.

Examples of loanwords, along with their languages or origin and their meanings:

Barbeque (Caribbean) - A raised grill for cooking meats.
Bizarre (Spain - Basque) - Strange or weird.
Breeze (Portuguese) - A light wind.
Chutzpah (Yiddish) - Extreme impudence.
Negligee (French) - A soft, filmy nightgown.
Entrepreneur (French) - A person who takes a financial risk to start a business.
Hazard (Arabic) - A danger or risk.
Motto (Italian) - Words to live by; a phrase that captures one's personal philosophy.
Futon (Japanese) - A low sofa bed with a quilted mattress.
Blitz (German) - To charge directly or attack vigorously.

Can you give an example of a loanword?

Tomorrow: Mixed Conditionals

This post is brought to you by the April A to Z Blog Challenge. Check back all through April for daily discussions of writing conventions.


Francene said...

Very interesting list. I can think of zuccini -- courgette. No idea which is the loanword though.

Jo said...

Zucchini is Italian and Courgette is French. Interesting post, I didn't know all of those words were loaners. In North America they tend to use a lot of Latin tags,carpe diem being one. Does that count?

Janna said...

How about nouveau and gratis

Tara Tyler said...

awesome list! hazard and motto most surprising!

fiance was all i could think of =)

Herding Cats - Burning Soup said...

Huh. Very interesting. Definitely wouldn't have thought of some of those as loanwords.

Anna@Herding Cats & Burning Soup

William Kendall said...

I can't think of any off hand, more's the pity...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lucy .. I'll be back to read your series through from beginning to end - I need to learn!

Loan words - the French hate the English .. le sandwich, le cardigan, etc etc .. there's actually lots - except I can't think of them now!!

I like your list though .. we borrow so many, and so many get converted ..

you use trunk - we use boot ...

Lots of differences and I love this series .. cheers Hilary

Christine Rains said...

Interesting. A few of them I didn't know were loanwords.

There was an error in this gadget