Influence of words from other languages in English

English, like any other language has evolved with time to include many words from other languages in its dictionary. French, Spanish, Latin, Greek, Mandarin Chinese are some of the well known languages that have contributed to English language. Of these French is one language that seems to have contributed about 33% of the words in the English language. You might be surprised to know that an average person who does not know French does know more than a hundred French words.

Words like a la carte, adieu and banquette come from French, whereas, alligator, banana, barbecue, cafeteria are just a few of the many words that we know of and these come from the Spanish language.  Similarly, there are many other words that have made their way into the English language. With so many words making their way in, it is no surprise that English has so many words from other languages, but have you ever thought as to why and how words from other languages have entered into the English language?

Why: Words are added to a language because they are used often by the native speakers of the language while communicating in another language, so often that they just blend into the language.

English has therefore seen many words being borrowed from other languages.

How: While one of the norms of word addition is that the word has to be popular, frequently used a lot by people and people had to use the dictionary to find its meanings, then that particular word is most likely to be included in a dictionary. All said and done, the word addition does not happen overnight. It has its own pace by which a word enters the dictionary and the language. There are also words that have changed their meanings over time and these are also incorporated by the lexicographers.

Words from many languages are often seen making their way to other languages and most often we do not realize their origin, unless we hear from someone or read them somewhere.

Meaning and usage of furlough

Here is the definition of furlough:

definition of furlough

Now is the chance for you to show the world how well you can use the word furlough in a sentence. Add your usages as part of your comments. If our experts approve, we will publish your usage in BeeDictionary.

Here are some usages:
The entire country is asking why a convicted murderer was furloughed. It was naive to believe that the convict would return on his own volitionvolition
➤ (n) the capability of conscious choice and decision and intention
➤ (n) the act of making a choice
after the furlough was over.

In order to cut costs the airline company was forced to furlough pilots and ground staff.

The Senator said that he would defend the state’s furlough system with all his strength since the system of furlough was a humane gesture.

Meaning and usage of furlough


What is Corporate Seppuku?

Recently, the highly secure email service, Lavabit, shut down. It is said that Edward Snowden was probably using Lavabit’s email service while he was holed up in Moscow airport. It is believed that Lavabit came under scrutiny and committed Corporate Seppuku.

So what is Corporate Seppuku?

According to Mega CEO Vikram Kumar, “These are acts of ‘Privacy Seppuku’ – honorably and publicly shutting down (“suicide”) rather than being forced to comply with laws and courts intent on violating people’s privacy,”

Incidentally, is working on an email service that could well do the job that Lavabit was doing –  without having to run the service on a US-based server.

Now a question arises: why did lavabit close down?

The CEO of Lavabit, in his post, writes:

My Fellow Users,

I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations. I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot. I feel you deserve to know what’s going on–the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise. As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences over the last six weeks, even though I have twice made the appropriate requests…

What is Recently, the highly secure email service, Lavabit, shut down. It is said that Edward Snowden was probably using Lavabit's email service while he was holed up in Moscow airport. It is believed that Lavabit came under scrutiny and committed Corporate Seppuku?

Phonetics – alternative way to learn spellings

Learning spellings has never been easy for children and elders alike. We all make mistakes while spelling them out and that’s because of the change in their pronunciation over time. It is often seen that spellings represent the phonetic symbols and as such changes often depending on the place from which it comes.

Children build up their vocabulary of words from early childhood, but when it comes to translating them to spell; they often find it a huge task. Parents too panic on the very thought that their child is unable to spell simple words correctly. Here are some tips to help children learn spellings with phonetics.

  1. Split the word – one of the best ways to learn how to spell is to split the word into small bits. For example: father = fa + th +er; vocabulary = vo + ca + bu + la +ry. Of course for some words, ending with i, e and y can get confused.
  2. Double letter words – double letter words are many in our language. You only need to watch it closely to help you learn the spellings. For example: letter = Let +ter. Also, you can emphasize on the double letter to the child to help him/her learn the word.
  3. Pronounciation – every word is pronounced differently. It is important that the word is pronounced clearly to help the child imprint the word in the memory and try to spell it correctly.
  4. Funny instances in words – there are many words that can smell funny when split. For example – separate has a rat in it and adamant is filled with a dam and an ant.

 Try to bring out something interesting in the words that you learn and you will find that spelling words was never tough. All it needed was a little interest and mindset to change it all.

English section in ACT

ACT is yet another standardized test for high school achievement and college admission in the United States of America. ACT is gaining momentum as the most sought after test when compared to SAT. ACT stands for American College Testing and was started in competition to SAT. ACT is just a test that helps students seek admission into schools and colleges, but the institutions reserve their right to admission on other factors such as class rank, GPA and extracurricular activities.

ACT contains 4 multiple choice subject tests in English, mathematics, reading and science reasoning. English being a vast subject, students often find themselves scurrying into the various books available to help them prepare for this test.  This is actually not necessary, as the English part of the test is very easy. All one needs is a strong base in grammar and they can face this section with ease.

The English section contains paragraphs and underlined words/phrases and questions are asked based on how correct they are. If one reads through these passages carefully, you will find that certain words are misspelt, punctuation is missing or sentences need to be rephrased to grammatically fit the place. Whoever has a thorough and basic knowledge of the subject will be easily able to crack this section.

Unusual words in English

English is a language with many words in the dictionary. A lifetime is not enough to learn the words, such is the list. In this long list of words, you can come across some unusual words. These unusual words have meanings that we tend to come across often, but would have never thought that there was a word for it.

Here’s a short list of such words.

  1. Accubation – practice of eating and drinking while lying down. Oh, we do this most of the time, don’t we?
  2. Agerasia – the state of an older person looking young. We have most often come across a charming lady who does not look her age.
  3. Brontide – rumbling of thunder at a distant.
  4. Causeuse  – a twin seated sofa.
  5. Defenstrate – throwing out of the window. How often have you thrown something out of the window?
  6. Farctate – over eating. I have seen people do this.
  7. Inaniloquent – speak foolishly.
  8. Pyknic  – short and fat

Well, if you read through the meanings, you can find that these are some commonly seen instances or something that we notice often, but never knew that a word for them could exist. If you come across any such interesting and unusual words, do let us know.



Palindromes are words or phrases that read the same in both directions. Every language has palindromes and the earliest one found is from 79AD. So, we can say that palindromes are not very new to the language. One can find examples of palindromes in words, phrases, names, places and sentences to name a few. Here are some interesting palindromes.

  1. Don’t nod.
  2. Madam, in Eden, I’m Adam.
  3. A Toyota’s a Toyota.
  4. Borrow or rob.
  5. Too hot to hoot and so on.

Palindromes are many. We come across a few without realizing them. So, start collecting palindromes and share with your friends. It’s nice and interesting and a fun way to pass time.


It is a combination of two or more words and their definitions to the new world. A portmanteau word combines the sounds and the meanings of its components. In simple terms, it means a combination of 2 or more words to form a new one. For example: smog = smoke + fog;  brunch = breakfast +lunch; Oxbridge = Oxford + Cambridge.

A portmanteau was first used by Lewis Carroll in the book – ‘through the looking glass’, with humpty-dumpty explaining Alice the practice of combining words. Since then, we have seen many such portmanteaus, some of whom have become very common.

Eminent and imminent

Eminent and imminent are two different words that sound so alike. A small mistake on our part in its usage and the entire sentence and thought could go wrong. For example – I could foresee the eminent danger. What would you think of when you got to hear something like this? I would be stunned for sure.

Eminent actually means distinguished or superior. So, if you want to suggest that someone is famous, superior or renowned, use the word eminent. Imminent on the other hand means threatening or something bad about to happen.

We will come across many such words which are often used interchangeably by people without knowing their meanings. It would therefore be wise to check for their meanings, before jumping in to use those words in your conversation.