English Words Adopted from a Foreign Language

9745564America is a nation formed by immigrants, and as a result some words from foreign languages have been adapted into the everyday speaking of many English speakers. In fact, many people don’t realize that some of the words they are using come from a foreign language.

Some of the words have maintained the same spelling and pronunciation when they are adapted into the English language, while others have undergone a slight change to more easily adapt to English.

The following words and phrases have been used in the English language and have undergone little or no modifications whatsoever.


  • Faux pas: a false or wrong step, usually in a social context.
  • Déjà vu: a feeling of having already experienced the present situation.


  • Vigilante: a member of a self-appointed group who undertake law enforcement in their community.
  • Bonanza: a source of good fortune and wealth.
  • Macho: being overly masculine in a forceful way.
  • Nacho: Snack, name is given for being a short name of Ignacio. The name of the person who invented the snack.
  • Plaza: Public square, spot or place


  • Kaput: something broken and without use.
  • Wanderlust: a yearning to travel.


  • Mammoth: large, hairy extinct elephant. As an adjective we use it to describe something of great size.


  • Tycoon: “great lord”; today we associate it with a wealthy, powerful person within a business or industry.
  • Karaoke: the real meaning of karaoke in Japanese is empty orchestra and is used to describe an amateur singing accompanied by recorded music


  • Alchemy: the precursor of chemistry in which alchemists tried to transform base metals into gold.
  • Algebra: “mending of the broken parts”; a branch of mathematics in which letters and symbols are used to represent numbers in formulae and equations.
  • Ghoul: an evil spirit who purportedly robs graves and devours corpses.


  • Shawl: fabric worn around shoulders, head or to wrap round a baby.


  • Bandanna: large colored scarf.
  • Shampoo: Everyday product for hair-care, originally named Champu


  • Wiki: Fast.
  • Taboo: a vehement prohibition or forbidden.

Now we can understand why Wikipedia founders used the term wiki for their name. This practice of adopting words from other languages doesn’t just apply to English. For example, the French word for weekend is le weekend, and the spanish word for sweater is sueter. if you know any other English word that was adopted from a foreign Language comment below and share the gift of language with the world! 🙂

Source: Dakwak Blog

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