Foreign words and expressions | Sunday Observer

Foreign words and expressions

5 December, 2021

English has borrowed a large number of words and phrases from foreign languages. Here are some of them:
Moron (Greek) is a very offensive word for someone who you think is stupid.
Mot (French) usually ‘bon mot’ means a clever remark.
Motif (French) is an idea, subject or image that is regularly repeated and developed in a book, film or work of art.
The theme of creation is a recurrent motif in Celtic mythology.
Mucus (Latin) is a thick liquid produced in some parts of your body such as your nose.
Mufti (Arabic) is a Muslim who officially explains Islamic law. ‘In mufti’ means ‘wearing ordinary clothes instead of a uniform.’
Soldiers in mufti were seen in some parts of the island.
Mullah (Turkish) is a Muslim teacher of law and religion.
Multi (Latin) is a prefix meaning ‘many.’ Eg multimedia and multinational
Mumbo-jumbo (Mandingo) is a technical language that is difficult to understand and seems to have no sense.
Mustache / moustache (French) means hair that grows on a man’s upper lip. Ben has shaved off his moustache.
Mutatis mutandis (Latin) means ‘with the necessary changes being made, with consideration of the respective differences.’
What is said of the army will also apply, mutatis mutandis, to the air force and the navy.
Myopia (Greek) when someone does not think about the future, especially about the possible results of a particular action the word is used in order to show disapproval.
Myriad (Italian) means very many.
The minister spoke on the myriad causes of homelessness.
Mystique (French) is a quality that makes someone or something seem mysterious, exciting or special.
The mystique surrounding European royalty has remained largely intact despite recent attacks by the press.
Nadir (French) is the lowest point of something.
By 1932, the depression reached its nadir.
Naïve (French) means ‘not having much experience of how complicated life is, so that you trust people too much and believe that good things will always happen.’
Smith can be so naïve sometimes.
Narcissism (Greek) when someone is concerned about their appearance or abilities or spend too much time admiring them the word is used to show disapproval.
Joe went to the gym every day, driven purely by narcissism.
Nausea (Latin) is a feeling that you are going to vomit.
A feeling of nausea suddenly came over me when I entered that abandoned building.
Nebula (Latin) is a mass of gas and dust among the stars which often appears as a bright cloud in the sky at night.
Nectar (Greek) is the sweet liquid that bees collect from flowers.
Nemesis (Greek) is an opponent or enemy who is likely to be impossible for you to defeat or a situation that is likely to be impossible for you to deal with.
Neurosis (Greek) is a mild mental or emotional disturbance affecting the personality.
Nexus (Latin) is a connection or network of connections between a number of people, things or ideas.
Niche (French) if you find your niche, you will find your job or activity suitable for you.
Amanda found her niche at a newspaper office.
Ninja (Japanese) is a fighter trained in Japanese martial art.
Nirvana (Sanskrit) is a state of bliss or of spiritual enlightenment.
No / Noh (Japanese) is a stylized form of classical Japanese drama incorporating masked characters, dance and song.
Noblesse (French) means nobility of rank or birth, the aristocracy.
Nocturnal (Latin) An animal that is nocturnal is active at night.
Nom de plume (French) is a pseudonym or assumed name under which a person publishes a piece of writing.
Nonchalance (French) means ‘behaving calmly and not seeming interested in anything or worried about anything.’