Foreign words and phrases | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Foreign words and phrases

12 September, 2021

English has borrowed a large number of foreign words and phrases. Here are some of them.
Dementia (Latin) an illness that affects the brain and memory and makes you gradually lose the ability to think and behave normally
Denim (French) a type of strong cotton cloth used especially to make jeans
Denouement (French) the exciting last part of a story or play
The plot takes the reader to Paris for denouement of the story.
Depot (French) a place where vehicles are parked until they are needed
Rex fell asleep on the last bus and woke up in the depot.
Desideratum (Latin) something needed or desired as essential
Detente (French) a time or situation in which two countries that are not friendly towards each other agree to behave in a more friendly way
An uneasy détente existed between Sri Lanka and India.
Detour (French) a way of going from one place to another that is longer than the usual way
We took a detour to avoid the protesting schoolteachers blocking the main road.
Deus ex machina (Latin) an artificial ending to a difficulty usually found in classical drama
Diagnosis (Greek) the process of discovering exactly what is wrong with someone by examining them closely
An exact diagnosis can only be made by obtaining a blood sample.
Diaspora (Greek) any group of people linked by nationality or religion who have dispersed and settled far away from their original homeland
The Tamil diaspora is very active in Canada.
Diatribe (Greek) a bitter, abusive verbal attack
The Senator launched a bitter diatribe against the new law.
Dictum (Latin) a formal statement, pronouncement or maxim
Diktat (German) an order that is forced on the people by a ruler
The dictator issued a diktat prohibiting any nuclear experiments without his permission.
Dilemma (Latin) a situation in which it is very difficult to decide what to do because all the choices seem equally good or bad
I am in a dilemma about this job offer.
Dilettante (Italian) someone who is not serious about what they are doing or does not study a subject thoroughly
Diminuendo (Italian) a part in a piece of music where it becomes gradually quieter
Dinghy (Hindi) a small rowing or sailing boat
Diploma (Latin) a document showing that someone has successfully completed a course of study or passed an examination
Liz is hoping to get her teaching diploma this year.
Dipsomania (Latin) a craving for alcohol
Discotheque / disco (French) a venue or event for dancing to pop music
Ditto (Italian) something already said abbreviated as ‘do’
Diva (Italian) a very successful and famous female singer
Divan (Turkish) a couch suitable for use as a bed
Dogma (Greek) a set of firm beliefs held by a group of people who expect other people to accept them without thinking
Domicile (French) the place where someone lives
Military families tend to have frequent changes of domicile.
Don (Spanish) a university teacher
Doppelganger (German) someone who looks exactly like someone else