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Terms from Foreign Tongues

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November 22, 2010, 20:38
Terms from Foreign Tongues
zek – an inmate of a Soviet labor camp
[Russian, from abbr. for zaklyuchënny prisoner, zaklyuchat to imprison, klyuch key]
On occasion, used figuratively:
November 23, 2010, 19:35
dishabille or deshabille1. the state of being partially dressed (and, by more important implication, partially undressed); 2. the state of being very casually, carelessly dressed

femme fatale – a dangerously seductive woman [Wordcrafter note: the term is not generally considered to be a redundancy.]

Each from French. Where else?

This message has been edited. Last edited by: wordcrafter,
November 23, 2010, 20:27
Robert Arvanitis
More to the point, the deshabille was a sign she was louche...

November 24, 2010, 19:48
bong – a water pipe for smoking marijuana, etc.
[from Thai baung cylindrical wooden tube]
November 25, 2010, 18:48
Great to see you back at it, Wordcrafter!

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
November 25, 2010, 19:34
favela – a shantytown or slum, especially in Brazil
[from Brazilian Portuguese]
November 26, 2010, 21:07
English has taken in words from many languages. But I know of only one that originated as a word (not a proper noun) in an imaginary language, a language that exists only in fiction!

Challenge: Can anyone supply another? yahoo – a rude, noisy, or violent person

From the language the Houyhnhnms, the intelligent and civilized horses who are the dominant species in a country in Swift's Gulliver's Travels. “Yahoo” is their term for a subhuman humanoid animal that infests their country. Here is Gulliver’s first venture into the Houyhnhnms’ language:
November 27, 2010, 02:51
One such is the verb to grok, from Robert A. Heinlein's novel Stranger in a Strange Land, where it is a Martian word.

Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
November 27, 2010, 09:42
I thought of hobbit and orc, but Tolkien derived these words from Old English, so they don't count. Hobbits called themselves kuduk in their language. In Sindarin "orc" is orch and in Black Speech it's uruk, but it's presumably a coincidence that these words are so similar to the English word.