Foreign words and phrases | Sunday Observer

Foreign words and phrases

10 October, 2021

English has borrowed a large number of words and phrases from foreign languages. Here are some of them.
Fiance (French) a man who is engaged to be married
Fiancee (French) a woman who is engaged to be married
Fiasco (Italian) a disastrous or chaotic failure
The first lecture I gave at the university was a complete disaster.
Fiat (Latin) an official order given by someone in a position of authority, without considering what people want
The matter was settled by presidential fiat.
Fiat justicia (Latin) let justice be done!
Fiesta (Spanish) a religious holiday with dancing and music
Film noir (French) a film that deals with subjects such as evil and moral problems, typically depicting the criminal underworld
Finale (Italian) the last part of a piece of music or of a show
It was a game with a dramatic finale.
Finesse (French) refinement, skill or adroitness in doing something
He played the sonata with great finesse.
Flak (German) critical comments or other opposition
Max has taken a lot of flak for his views on drugs.
Flamenco (Spanish) a lively gypsy dance or the music that is played for it
Flora (Latin) plant life
Tourism is damaging the flora and fauna of the island.
Flotilla (Spanish) a small fleet of boats or ships
The flotilla was chased away from the coast.
Forte (French) a person’s speciality or strong point
As a writer, his forte is humour.
Forum (Latin) an organisation, meeting or TV program where people have a chance to publicly discuss and debate.
The newspaper provided a forum for discussion and debate.
Foyer (French) a room or hall at the entrance to a public building
Fresco (Italian) a painting made on a wall while the plaster is still wet
Fulcrum (Latin) the point on which a lever turns, balances, or is supported in turning or lifting something
Fungus (Latin) a simple type of plant that has no leaves or flowers and that grows on plants or other surfaces
Furore (Italian) a sudden expression of anger among a large group of people about something that has happened
Fusillade (French) a quick series of shots fired from a gun, or a quick series of objects that are thrown
Gaffe (French) an embarrassing mistake made in a social situation or in public
The consul’s comments were a major diplomatic gaffe.
Gaga (French) crazy or wildly enthusiastic
All the children went completely gaga when their team won the match.
Gala (Italian) a public entertainment or performance to celebrate a special occasion
Galant (French) a well-dressed young man who is kind and polite towards women
Gambit (Italian) something that you do or say which is intended to give you an advantage in an argument
Garage (French) a building for keeping a car in, usually next to or attached to a house
Garcon (French) boy or a waiter in a French restaurant
Gateau (French) a rich, often multi-layered, cake
Gauche (French) doing or saying wrong or impolite things, especially because you do not know the right way to behave