15 Foreign Words we use every day in English

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15 Foreign Words we use every day in English
English, just like any other language, is riddled with foreign words stolen from other tongues. If you’re looking to expand your language knowledge check out the Brainscape Market for flashcards in array of languages.
Most of them are anglicized, but some have stuck to the original. Many of these phrases are common in literature and everyday speech, which means that understanding these phrases is necessary for understanding what you read. These phrases are also a fascinating glimpse into the ever-evolving nature of language, and how it evolves over time as history unfolds.
Here are a 15 examples of these foreign words that are commonly found in conversation (that will also make you sound totally smart), with language of origin and sample sentence, courtesy of How To Learn.

Foreign Words We Use Every Day

ad nauseam

From Latin meaning to a sickening degree. “Tom talked ad nauseam about the time he scored the winning run.”

bon voyage

From French meaning have a nice trip. “We all shouted ‘bon voyage’ as Rosa left for her vacation.”

bona fide

From Latin meaning genuine. “Emma’s teacher was a bona fide expert in European history.”

carte blanche

From French meaning unlimited authority. “As the owner of the store, Mr. Williamson had carte blanche regarding what merchandise to sell.”

caveat emptor

From the Latin meaning let the buyer beware. “I learned what caveat emptor meant the hard way when I bought a bike that never seemed to work right.”

en masse

From French meaning in a large group. “The fans left the football stadium en masse once the score became 42 to 0.”

fait accompli

From French meaning established fact. “Luis was disappointed, but his losing the election for class president was a fait accompli.”

faux pas

From French meaning a social blunder. “Elizabeth realized too late that not attending Susan’s party was a faux pas.”

ipso facto

From Latin meaning by the fact itself. “A teacher, ipso facto, is in charge of his or her class.”

modus operandi

From Latin meaning method of operating. “My modus operandi when studying is to set very specific goals.”

persona non grata

From Latin meaning an unacceptable person. “Sally was a persona non grata in our club because she wouldn’t follow the rules.”

prima donna

From Latin meaning a temperamental and conceited person. “Laura wasn’t popular with the other girls because they considered her to be a prima donna.”

pro bono

From Latin meaning done or donated without charge. “The lawyer’s pro bono work with the homeless gave him a sense of personal satisfaction.”

quid pro quo

From Latin meaning something for something, usually an equal exchange. “Helping Ian with his math was quid pro quo for the time Ian helped me mow the lawn.”

status quo

From Latin meaning the existing condition. “Because he didn’t like change, Bert always tried to maintain the status quo.”


Many foreign phrases have taken their place in English speaking and writing. Here are some of the most common. For each phrase, the language from which it comes and its meaning in English is shown. The phrase is then used in a sentence.

There is some confusion about whether foreign phrases should be italicized in English writing. There is no definitive rule regarding this. However, by convention, a foreign phrase should be italicized unless you have a strong expectation that your readers will know its meaning. This is a matter of judgment and it is safe to use italics when you write foreign phrases.

Sources: Common Foreign Phrases



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2 comments

Bella 1 year ago

hey) very interesting, especially faux pas and carte blanche)

best essay service 1 year ago

You niticed a good points and i know there are every people are be agree with you about this. These are common word for them and they enjoy this education so much.

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