Foreign words and phrases | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Foreign words and phrases

5 September, 2021

English has borrowed a large number of words and phrases from foreign languages. Here are some of them.

Criterion (Greek) a standard by which something may be judged
Academic qualifications should not be the sole criterion for recruiting employees.
Critique (French) a critical analysis or discussion
Prof. Johnson’s new book is a critique of modern economic theory.
Crochet (French) a type of needle work in which a hooked needle is used to interlock looped stiches

Crux (Latin) the most important part of a problem, question, or argument
The crux of the matter is how do we prevent a flood occurring again?
Cuisine (French) a particular style of cooking
Nancy is an expert in the traditional cuisine of the Southwest.
Cul-de-sac (French) a road which is closed at one end, so that there is only one way in and out
Curriculum (Latin) the subjects that are taught by a school or the things that are studied in a particular subject
Languages are an essential part of the school curriculum.
Curriculum vitae (Latin) a formal summary of a person’s career, experience or qualifications
Curry (Tamil) a highly spiced dish prepared in the Indian manner.
The chicken curry was so spicy that it made my eyes water.
Cursor (Latin) a mark that can be moved around a computer screen to show where you are working
Cushy (Hindi) easy, pleasant or untaxing
In my youth I landed a cushy job with an insurance company.
Dacoit (Hindi) a bandit of India or Myanmar, usually a member of a gang of such robbers
Dalai Lama (Mongolian) the spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism
Data (Latin) facts, details or information
We have to interpret the vast amounts of data produced by computers.
Debacle (French) an event or situation that is a complete failure
The United National Party will always remember the debacle of the last general election.
Debonair (French) fashionable and confident
Debris (French) the pieces of something that are left after it has been destroyed in an accident or explosion
A soldier was hit by flying debris from the blast.
Debut (French) the first public appearance of an entertainer, sports player or of something new and important
His Broadway debut was The Scarlet Pimpernel.
Debutante (French) a young rich upper-class woman who starts going to fashionable events as a way of being introduced to upper-class society
Décor (French) the way that the inside of a building is decorated
The décor needs some attention but otherwise the apartment is ready for occupation.
Decorum (Latin) behaviour that shows respect and is correct for a particular situation
Decoy (Dutch) someone or something that is used to trick someone into going somewhere or doing something so that you can catch them or attack them
A woman police constable acted as a decoy to arrest the rapist.
De facto (Latin) really existing although not legally stated to exist
Déjà vu (French) the feeling that what is happening now has happened before in exactly the same manner
The whole show had a distinct air of déjà vu with hardly an original idea in it.
De jure (Latin) by right
Delicatessen (German) a shop that sells high-quality cheeses, salads and cooked meats
The new supermarket boasts of an excellent delicatessen, with a wide range of meat and cheeses.
Delirium (Latin) a state in which someone is delirious, especially because they are very ill
The patient has passed into a state of delirium.
Delirium tremens (Latin) violent delirium characterised by uncontrollable trembling, a consequence of prolonged alcohol abuse