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FAMILIAR FOREIGN PHRASES AND THEIR MEANINGS

 

There are several words and phrases from different countries which are widely used in our everyday language.  Here are a few of the most popular together with their meanings.

 

ad lib = improvised

ad nauseam = to the point of disgust

al fresco = in the open air

bona fide = in good faith, genuine, sincere

bon vivant - a person who enjoys living life to the full

carte blanche - a free hand

cause célèbre - controversial, public issue

caveat emptor - buyer beware

c'est la vie - That's life

compos mentis - of sound mind

coup de grâce - the finishing stroke

crème de la crème - the best of its kind

cri de coeur - a cry from the heart, a heartfelt plea

fait accompli - something already done

guru - spiritual leader or teacher

infra dig - beneath dignity, vulgar

in toto - as a whole

je ne sais quoi - hard to define or describe

kitsch - sentimental bad taste

modus operandi (abbreviation mo) - way of working

per capita - per person, by head of population

pièce de résistance - most outstanding item

pied-à-terre - a second or temporary home

prima donna - temperamental performer

pro forma - according to or as a matter of form

pundit - an authority in a particular field

raison d'être - the purpose of a thing or action

schmalz - excessive sentimentality

status quo - the existing state of affairs

tant pis - never mind, too bad

tour de force - an exceptionally skilful act

trompe l'oeil - an illusion created to look like reality e.g. a view through a window painted on a brick wall.


 

 

 

 

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