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Words borrowed from other languages

English has borrowed a large number of words from other languages. Over the centuries many of these words have become an integral part of English vocabulary. Here is a list of the most common among these words. English meanings are given against each word.

Ab initio – from the very beginning

Ad hoc – for a specified purpose

Ad infinitum – without limit

Ad interim – in the mean time

Ad valorem – according to value

A la carte – a menu having individual dishes listed with separate prices

A la mode – in the manner of

Alma mater – a school, college, university or seminary where one studied

Alumna – former female student of a school, college or university

Alumnus – former male student of a school, college or university

Anno domini – in the year of the Christian era

Ante merediem – before noon

A priori – not based on prior study or examination

A propos – referring to that point

Au fait – expert in anything, well versed

Au revoir – good bye until we meet again

Bonafide – in good faith

Bon voyage – wish a good journey

Carte blanche – blank cheque, full powers

Circa – approximately

Corpus delicti – the body of evidence that constitutes the offence

Coup’d etat – change of government by force

Coup de grace – a blow that kills

Coup de main – sudden overpowering attack

Coup de maξtre – master stroke

De facto – in fact

De jure – in law

De novo – a new, from the beginning

Divide et impera – divide and rule

Deti gratia – by the grace of God

Deo volento – God willing

En masse – all together

En bloc – as one unit, as a whole

Et cetera – and so forth

Ex officio – by virtue of one’s office

Ex parte – without the other party

Facsimile – a close imitation, a copy

Faux pas – a false step

Ibidem – in the same place

Id est – that is

Impasse – a deadlock

In camera – in private

In extense – at full length

In situ – in its original site or position

In toto – totally, completely

Inter alia – among other things

Inter se – among themselves

Lingua franca – common language

Locus standi – a place for standing

Magnum opus – great work

Mala fide – in bad faith

Modus operandi – method of operation

Modus vivendi – way of living

Nom de plume – pen name

Obiter dictum – a passing remark

Persona grata – a person acceptable to whom he is sent

Persona non grata – a diplomat who is unacceptable to the government to which he is sent

Par excellence – pre-eminently

Per annum – yearly

Per capita – per head

Per centum – per hundred

Per diem – per day

Per mensem – per month

Per se – by itself

Post merediem – after noon

Post scriptum – written after

Prima facie – on the face of it

Pro bono public – for the public good

Pro tempore – for the time being

Quid pro quo – something done in return for something else

Raison d’etre – reason for existence

Sine die – without a date fixed; indefinitely

Sub judice – under judicial consideration

Sub rosa – in secret

Sine qua non – a prerequisite

Sans sousi – without care

Status quo – the existing state of affairs

Tete-a-tete – a private conversation

Intra vires – within one’s powers

Ultra vires – beyond one’s powers

Verbatim – word for word

Versus – against

Vice versa – with the order reversed

Vis-ΰ-vis – face to face with

Viva voce – oral interview

Volte face – a reversal of opinion or policy


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