Foreign Terms Used in English

Languages, like human beings, borrow from each other. The inclusion of foreign terms in English and vice versa is hence an integral part of the exchange that takes place.

We come across so many such phrases every day – there’s no escaping them!

Listed below are five commonly used foreign terms and phrases:

  1. Modus operandi

Most of us have come across this word while reading/listening to the news. It’s a Latin phrase which depicts the usual way of doing something; especially : the usual way that a particular criminal performs a crime. 

Ex: The modus operandi of both the killers is similar.

  1. À la carte

This French phrase means according to a menu or list that prices items separately.

Ex: Can we order à la carte?

  1. Alma mater

The school or university from which one graduated is called their Alma mater. The term has its origin in Latin.

Ex: She is now a professor and teaches at her alma mater.

  1. Faux pas

The French term for an embarrassing social blunder or indiscretion.

Ex: I committed a faux pas by wearing those casual sandals for my interview.

  1. Vis-à-Vis

This French phrase literally means “face to face”. However, in English, it is a preposition which means in relation to or as compared with.

Ex: My income vis-à-vis my expenditures is quite less.

These phrases have an added benefit of making you sound smart! What are you waiting for? Start using these in sentences so you don’t forget what they mean!




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