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Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi", A

Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi", A

The Origin of Foreign Words Used in English

"English doesn't borrow from other languages. English follows other languages down dark alleys, knocks them over, and goes through their pockets for loose grammar."
-James D. Nicoll

Organized alphabetically for easy reference, A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi" is an accessible lexicon of foreign words and phrases used in English, containing everything from aficionado (Spanish) to zeitgeist (German). Inside you'll find translations, definitions, origins, and a descriptive timeline of each item's evolution. Entries include:
  • À la carte: from the card or of the menu (French)
  • Fiasco: complete failure (Italian)
  • Dungarees: thick cotton cloth/overalls (Hindi)
  • Diaspora: dispersion (Greek)
  • Smorgasbord: bread and butter (Swedish)
  • Cognoscenti: those who know (Italian)
  • Compos mentis: having mastery of one's mind; with it (Latin)
Attractively packaged with black and white illustrations, this whimsical yet authoritative book is a great gift for any etymologically fascinated individual. Use this book to reacquaint yourself with the English language, and you'll be compos mentis in no time.
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  • Readers Digest | 
  • 176 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781606522769 | 
  • October 2010
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