Commonly used foreign words and phrases
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Commonly Used Foreign Words and Phrases - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Commonly Used Foreign Words and Phrases . Word Definitions Example of Use Parts of Speech Word Origins. Why should we study foreign words?.

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Commonly Used Foreign Words and Phrases

Word Definitions

Example of Use

Parts of Speech

Word Origins

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Why should we study foreign words?

Foreign words are what created our present day English language. In order to better understand our spoken and written language we need to understand some foreign words and phrases. These foreign words and phrases help us to better understand our English language, express ourselves more clearly, and comprehend

the meaning behind some expressions.

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Directions for Use

  • To use this power point, click on the word you are studying from the table of contents . That will take you to the slide with the pronunciation of the word, the definition of the word, the origin of the word, the part of speech to which the word belongs, and an example of the word used in a sentence.

  • To hear the word pronounced, click on the word in blue at the top of the slide. A pronunciation window will pop up and the word should be pronounced. If this does not happen, just

    click on the link in the window that says, “to hear

    the word again.” The word should be pronounced.

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Table of Contents-1

9th Grade (these words are included in 10th, 11th, & 12th grades as well)

RSVP alma mater status quo

déjà vu cum laudejoie de vivre

faux pasfemme fatale carte blanche

du jour esprit de corps caveat emptor

bon voyageverbatimalpha and omega

E pluribus unumtabula rasa

prima donna hoi polloi

avant-garde ad nauseam

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Table of Contents-2

10th Grade (11th & 12th also)11th Grade (12th also)12th Grade

Carpe diemenfant terriblead hoc raison d’etre

tempus fugitterra firmacause celebrelaissez faire

C’est la vievox populimagnum opusbete noire

bona fide persona non grataen masse

savoir fairequid pro quoin absentia

non sequiturje ne sais quoi sub rosa

Id estmodus operandi schadenfreude

nom de plume noblesse oblige

haute couturesine qua non

mea culpadeus ex machina


coup d’etat

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  • Used on an invitation to indicate that the favor of a reply is requested

  • Part of Speech - Verb (used without object) – to reply to an invitation: Don’t forget to RSVP before Thursday.


    • Noun (a reply to an invitation) – He sent a lovely bouquet of flowers with his RSVP.

  • Word Origin - from the French phrase

    “repondez s’il vous plait”

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déjà vu

  • Psychology; the illusion of having previously experienced something actually being encountered for the first time; disagreeable familiarity or sameness

  • The new television season had a sense of déjà vu about it—the same old plots and characters with new names.

  • Part of Speech - Noun

  • Word Origin - French

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faux pas

  • A slip or blunder in etiquette, manners, or conduct; an embarrassing social blunder or indiscretion

  • He committed a social faux pas when he called her Mrs. Instead of Miss.

  • Part of Speech – Noun

  • Word Origin - French

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du jour

  • As prepared on the particular day; of the kind being served today: du = of, jour = day

  • The soup du jour is split pea.

  • Part of Speech – Noun

  • Word Origin - French

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bon voyage

  • Have a pleasant trip!

  • Bon voyage, mom!

  • Part of Speech – Interjection

  • Word Origin - French

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alma mater

  • a school, college, or university at which one has studied and, usually, from which one has graduated

  • I went a football game at my alma mater, UTK.

  • Part of Speech – Noun

  • Word Origin - Latin

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cum laude

  • An academic honor given at graduation

    (Magna cum laude: with high honors)

    (Summa cum laude: the highest academic distinction)

  • She graduated magna cum laude from Georgia Tech.

  • Part of Speech – Adverb

  • Word Origin -Latin

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femme fatale

  • An irresistibly attractive woman, especially one who leads men into difficult, dangerous, or disastrous situations; a siren

  • Angelina Jolie is a true femme fatale.

  • Part of Speech – Noun

  • Word Origin - French

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esprit de corps

  • a sense of unity and of common interests and responsibilities, as developed among a group of persons closely associated in a task, cause, or enterprise, etc.

  • Participation in community service improves the group’s esprit de corps.

  • Part of Speech – Noun

  • Word Origin - French

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  • in exactly the same words; word for word

    “to repeat something verbatim” – Adverb

    corresponding word for word to the original - Adjective

  • James mother told him to tell the principal about the argument he had with his teacher. Adv.

  • This is a verbatim recording of the proceedings. Adj.

  • Part of Speech – Adjective or adverb

  • Word Origin - Latin

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E pluribus unum

  • out of many, one

    (motto of the United States)

  • E pluribus unum was adopted as the national motto for the United States in 1776.

  • Part of Speech – Phrase

  • Word Origin - Latin

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prima donna

  • a first or principal female singer of an opera company;

    a temperamental person; a person who takes adulation and privileged treatment as a right and reacts with petulance to criticism or inconvenience

  • Valerie is the prima donna of our school’s senior play this year.

  • Part of Speech – Noun

  • Word Origin - Italian

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  • the advance group in any field, especially in the visual, literary, or musical arts, whose works are characterized chiefly by unorthodox and experimental methods

  • Apple computers are the avant-garde in technology. Noun

    She is very avant-garde in her fashion sense. Adj.

  • Parts of Speech – Noun or adjective

  • Word Origin - French

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status quo

  • the existing state or condition

  • People with money are often satisfied with the status quo.

  • Part of Speech – Noun

  • Word Origin - Latin

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joie de vivre

  • a delight in being alive; keen, carefree enjoyment of living

  • She displays a true joie de vivre.

  • Part of Speech – Noun

  • Word Origin - French

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carte blanche

  • Unconditional authority; full discretionary power

  • He exercises his carte blanche frequently.

  • Part of Speech – Noun

  • Word Origin - French

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caveat emptor

  • Let the buyer beware: the principle that the seller of a product cannot be held responsible for its quality unless it is guaranteed in a warranty

  • On the web, the advice “caveat emptor” has never been more apt.

  • Part of Speech – Noun

  • Word Origin - Latin

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alpha and omega

  • the beginning and the end of something (Revelation 1:8); the first and last letter of the Greek alphabet

  • God is the alpha and the omega.

  • Part of Speech – Noun

  • Word Origin - Greek

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tabula rasa

  • a mind not yet affected by experiences, impressions, etc…, anything existing undisturbed in its original, pure state

  • John Locke believed that a child’s mind was a tabula rasa.

  • Part of Speech – Noun

  • Word Origin - Latin

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hoi polloi

  • the common people; the masses; (often preceded by the)

  • The hoi polloi think that Fitzgerald is a great screen director.

  • Part of Speech - Noun

  • Word Origin - Greek

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ad nauseam

  • to a sickening or disgusting degree

  • We have heard about all the budget cuts ad nauseam.

  • Part of Speech – Adverb

  • Word Origin - Latin

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carpe diem

  • Seize the day; enjoy the present, as opposed to placing all hope in the future

  • It’s a beautiful day, so forget tomorrow’s tests; Carpe diem!

  • Part of Speech – Noun

  • Word Origin - Latin

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tempus fugit

  • Time flies

  • Tempus fugit when you’re having fun.

  • Part of Speech – phrase

  • Word Origin - Latin

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c’ est la vie

  • express philosophical acceptance of the way things are: “That’s Life”

  • Suzanne’s response to her job loss was, “C’est la vie.”

  • Part of Speech – Noun

  • Word Origin - French

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bona fide

  • made, done, presented, etc…, in good faith; Without deception or fraud; Authentic; True

  • The museum has a bona fide sample of Lincoln’s handwriting.

  • Part of Speech – Adjective

  • Word Origin - Latin

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savoir faire

  • knowledge of just what to do in any situation; tact

  • At the fancy restaurant, I realized that I lacked the savior-faire to use all of the silverware correctly.

  • Part of Speech – Noun

  • Word Origin - French

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non sequitur

  • an inference or a conclusion that does not follow from the premises; a statement containing an illogical conclusion

  • We had been discussing plumbing, so her remark about astrology was a real non sequitur.

  • Part of Speech – Noun

  • Word Origin – Latin

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id est

  • that is to say; in other words

  • I’m going to the place where I work best, i.e., the coffee shop.

  • Part of Speech – Adverb

  • Word Origin - Latin

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enfant terrible

  • An incorrigible child, as one whose behavior is embarrassing

    An outrageously outspoken or bold person who says and does indiscreet or irresponsible things

    A person whose work, thought, or lifestyle is so unconventional or avant-garde as to appear revolutionary or shocking

  • The spoiled child was enfant terrible.

  • Part of Speech – Noun

  • Word Origin - French

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terra firma

  • Firm or solid earth or Dry land (as opposed to water or air)

  • After our stormy voyage, we were relieved to set foot on terra firma.

  • Part of Speech – Noun

  • Word Origin - Latin

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vox populi

  • the voice of the people; popular opinion

  • The speaker’s address got barely a whisper from the vox populi.

  • Part of Speech – Noun

  • Word Origin - Latin

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ad hoc

  • For the present purpose or end presently under consideration – adverb

    concerned or dealing with a specific subject, purpose, or end – adjective

  • After a tornado swept through the school, an ad hoc group of parents was formed to assist in the repairs.

  • Part of Speech – Adverb or Adjective

  • Word Origin - Latin

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cause celebre

  • Any controversy that attracts public attention

  • The question of the draft was a cause célèbre in the 1960s.

  • Part of Speech – Noun

  • Word Origin - French

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magnum opus

  • a great work

  • Moby Dick was Melville's magnum opus.

  • Part of Speech – Noun

  • Word Origin - Latin

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persona non grata

  • an unwelcome or unacceptable person

  • He has become persona non grata in our club.

  • Part of Speech – Noun

  • Word Origin - Latin

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quid pro quo

  • One thing in return for another

  • The Chinese may make some concessions on trade, but they will no doubt demand a quid pro quo, so we must be prepared to make concessions too.

  • Part of Speech – Noun

  • Word Origin - Latin

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je ne sais quoi

  • an indefinable quality that makes somebody or

    something more attractive or interesting

  • She has a certain je ne sais quoi that charms everybody.

  • Part of Speech – Noun

  • Word Origin - French

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modus operandi

  • a method or way of doing of something

  • Her modus operandi in buying a new car always included a month of research.

  • Part of Speech – Noun

  • Word Origin - Latin

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noun de plume

noun de plume

  • a naming word; a word or group of words used as the name of a class or people, places, or things, or of a specific person, place, or thing

  • Samuel Clemens noun de plume is Mark Twain.

  • Part of Speech – Noun

  • Word Origin - French

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haute couture

  • top fashion; exclusive and expensive clothing made for an individual customer by a fashion designer, or the industry that produces such clothing

  • The new I-Phone is a god send to techies everywhere – hot technology meets haute couture.

  • Part of Speech – Noun

  • Word Origin - French

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mea culpa

  • expressing guilt or fault; used to express an admission of your own guilt

  • I gave you the wrong directions to my house – mea culpa.

  • Part of Speech – Interjection

  • Word Origin - Latin

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laissez faire

  • principle of no regulation of industry; principle that the economy works best if private industry is not regulated and markets are free

  • People who support a laissez faire system are against minimum wages, duties, and any other trade restrictions.

  • Part of Speech - Noun

  • Word Origin - French