Foreign words and phrases | Sunday Observer

Foreign words and phrases

24 October, 2021

English has borrowed a large number of words and phrases from foreign languages. Here are some of them.
Harakiri (Japanese) a way of killing yourself by cutting open your stomach used in the past in Japan to avoid losing honour
Harem (Turkish) the group of wives or women who lived with a rich or powerful man in some Muslim societies in the past
Haute couture (French) the business of making and selling expensive and fashionable clothes for women
Haute cuisine (French) cooking of a very high standard, especially French cooking
Hegemony (Greek) a situation in which one state or country controls others
Herculean (Latin) needing great strength or determination, a reference to the legendary Greek hero Hercules
Hernia (Latin) a medical condition in which an organ pushes through the muscles which are supposed to contain it
Herpes (Latin) a very infectious disease that causes spots on the skin
Hiatus (Latin) a break or interruption in an activity
Talks between India and China have resumed after a five-year hiatus.
Hinterland (German) an area of land that is far from the coast, large rivers, or the places where people live
Hoi polloi (Greek) an insulting word for ordinary people
Homo sapiens (Latin) the type of human being that exists now
Honorarium (Latin) a sum of money offered to a professional for a piece of advice or a speech
Hoop-la (French) a game in which participants try to win prizes by tossing hoops over pegs
Hospice (French) a special hospital for people who are dying
Tom’s grandmother was cared for in a hospice during the final months of her life.
Hotelier (French) someone who owns or manages a hotel
Howdah (Urdu) a covered seat used for riding an elephant
Hubris (Greek) too much pride
Husky (Inuit) a breed of heavy-coated working dog of Arctic regions
Hydra (Greek) a snake in ancient Greek stories with many heads that grow again when they are cut off
Hydrophobia (Greek) rabies or the morbid fear of water that accompanies the disease
Hyper (Greek) over or excessively
Hyperactive: too active and is not able to keep still or be quiet for very long
Hyperbole (Greek) a way of describing something by saying it is much bigger, smaller, or worse than it actually is
Hypochondria (Greek) someone who always worries about their health and thinks they may be ill, even when they are really not
Hypothesis (Greek) an idea that is suggested as an explanation for something but that has not yet been proved to be true
Several different hypotheses have been proposed to explain the origins of language.
Ibidem (Latin) in the same place, abbreviated as ‘ibid’
Icon (Greek) a small sign or picture on a computer screen that is used to start a particular operation; It also means someone famous who is admired by many people and is thought to represent an important idea
Id (Latin) according to Freudian psychology, the part of your mind that is completely unconscious but has hidden needs and desires
Idem (Latin) something already mentioned, abbreviated as ‘id’
Id est (Latin) that is, abbreviated as i.e.
Igloo (Inuit) a temporary dome-shaped shelter made from blocks of packed snow
Ignoramus (Latin) a stupid or ignorant person
Ikebana (Japanese) the Japanese art of flower arranging