Foreign Words and Phrases Used in English: List 1

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1. Le Mot Juste /moʊ ˈʒüst/
Meaning: [French] The most appropriate word.
Example: He's the kind of guy who always has the mot juste on the tip of his tongue and the wit to know when to say it, and when not to.

2. Schadenfreude /ʃɑːdənfrɔɪdə/ (4 syllables: "SHAA"duhn"froy"duh")
Meaning: [German] The pleasure one takes from someone else’s misfortune.
Example: This, on the other hand, is just pure mean-spirited snark, the more so as it invites us to feel political schadenfreude over geniune tragedy.

3. Modus Operandi /məʊdəs ˌɒpəˈrændi/ (6 syllables: "MOH"duhs"OP"uh"RAN"dee")
Meaning: [Latin] method of operating.
Example: The modus operandi in most cases has been remarkably similar in its old-school simplicity.

4. Faux pas /fəʊ ˈpɑ/ (2 syllables: "FOH"PAA")
Meaning: [French] The violation of a commonly accepted social rule, a blunder like a gaffe.
Example: Political correctness is de rigueur while offering dinner guests non-organic vegetables is a serious faux pas.

de rigueur: prescribed or required by fashion, etiquette, or custom.

4. Poshlust /ˈpoʂɫəsʲtʲ/
Meaning: [Russian] From the Russian word, poshlost, meaning ‘petty, trivial and vulgar’, it was rebranded by Vladimir Nabokov to mean ‘trashy, falsely clever, and falsely beautiful’. For how commercials present even trashy commodities in grandiose light.
Example: For they were a colossal manifestation of poshlust in all kinds of ways.

5. Kitschy /kɪʧ/ (1 syllable: "KICH")
Meaning: [German, or Yiddish] The quality of being lowbrow, tacky, or in bad taste, usually used in 
reference to art or decorations.
Example: Neate's works allude to aspects of art history that critical received taste occasionally dismisses as slightly kitschy.

6. Bric-a-brac /bɹɪkəbɹæk/
Meaning: [French] A miscellaneous collection of small decorative objects, otherwise known as souvenirs, bobbles or trinkets.
Examples: The drawing room upstairs has an interesting assortment of objets d'art and bric-a-brac.

Objets d'art: /ɔb. ʒɛ d‿aʁ/ works of art.

7. Aficionado / əˌfɪʃjəˈnɑːdəʊ/ (5 syllables: "uh"FISH"yuh"NAA"doh")
Meaning: [Spanish] An ardent admirer or fan of something.
Example: In addition to being a prolific writer and editor, he was a connoisseur of art, an expert on forestry and an aficionado of historic houses.

8. Doppelgänger /ˈdɒp(ə)lˌɡɛŋə/
[German] A double, or look-alike person, often with negative connotations since some people believe that seeing your own doppelgänger is an omen of impending death.

9. L’enfant terrible / lɑnˌfɑn tɛˈri.blə /
Meaning: [French] A child who says or does really embarrassing things, or, a successful adult whose achievements were executed in an unorthodox way.
Example: He became known as the enfant terrible of British theater.

10. Mea culpa /meɪəˈkʊlpə/ (4 syllables: "MAY"uh"KUUL"puh")
Meaning: [Latin] Literally, ‘my own fault’. Usually used by a person who is admitting guilt for some 
Example: Mr. Speaker, because he wanted to conceal the facts and delay disclosing them, the minister's mea culpa only raises new questions.

11. Quid pro quo /kwɪd prəʊ ˈkwəʊ/ (3 syllables: "KWID"proh"KWOH")
Meaning: [Latin] Literally, ‘something for something. Often used in place of ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ or during negotiations to ask, ‘what’s in it for me?’.
Example: A quid pro quo agreement means that one party agrees to do something in return for the agreement of another party to do something else.

12. Nouveau riche /ˌnuːvəʊ ˈriːʃ/ (3 syllables: "NOO"voh"REESH")
Meaning: [French] Newly rich. Usually used in a derogatory sense to refer to someone who uses newly-earned 
wealth to purchase kitschy things.
Example: The brothers who own the house became part of the city's nouveau riche when they heisted a bank during the looting.

13. Zeitgeist /zaɪtgaɪst/ (2 syllables: "ZYT"gyst")
Meaning: [German] The spirit of the times. Used to describe things in the socio-cultural air, like trends or 
ideas that describe an era.
Example: The current avalanche suggests a powerful tribute to the Zeitgeist, and confirms our general overexcitement about the giddy rush of decades.

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