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Some Foreign Words and Phrases

English is one of the richest languages of the world, and its richness arises from the fact that it has freely borrowed words and phrases from other languages, both European and non-European, and has absorbed and naturalised them.

Here is a list of such foreign words and phrases as have passed into everyday speech and writing. However, the students are advised to use them only when they understand them fully and when no suitable English equivalent is available. Eminent writers like Fowler have warned against the too frequent use of foreign words. It should also be borne in mind that, when used, such words and phrases are in italics.

Ab Initio = (From the very beginning).
The students insisted that the lesson should be taken up ab initio.

Ab extra = (From the outside).
Ab extra he appears to be a gentleman.

Ad hoc = Arrangement for some special purpose.
An ad hoc committee has been appointed to consider the question of rising prices.

Ad infinitum = (Without limit).
The power of God is ad infinitum.

Ad interim = (In the meantime).
I had left my room for a few minutes, ad interim a monkey entered it and tore many books.

Ad nauseam = (To a disgusting extent).
He talked about his own affairs ad nauseam.

Ad valorem = (According to the value of).
An ad valorem duty of three per cent is to be paid on all goods entering municipal limits.

Agent provocateur = A spy who works secretly and creates disturbance.
The mill owners employ agent provocateurs to incite the striking workers to violence and thus involve them in trouble.

Alma mater = The institution where one has been educated.
All students of Merrut College are proud of their Alma Mater.

A(Ex-stlumni = udents).
The alumni of this college hold high positions in the country.

Aide de camp (pronounced as ‘Cong’)’ The personal attendant of a high military officer.
The general came followed by his aide de camp.

Aide memorie = (A reminder; a notebook in which things are noted).
It is a good habit always to keep an aide memorie within easy reach.

Alter ego = (Fast friends).
I do not know why Mohsin, who was my alter ego, has suddenly turned against me

Ante meridiem = (a.m.) Between midnight and noon.
I get up at five ante meridiem.

Anno Domini = (In the year of our Lord (A.D.)
Shakespeare died in 1616 Anno Domini

Annus mirabilis = (A year of wonders).
The year 1947 is annus mirabilis in the history of Pakistan.

Apologia = (An apologetic writing).
‘In defence of poesy’ is Philip Sidney’s apologia for poetry.

Aqua = (Water)
One cannot live without aqua even for a single day.

Bona fide = (Good faith, honesty, sincerity).
A gentleman does not doubt the boba fides of others.

Billet d’amour = (A love-letter).
He has been expelled from the college for sending a billet d’amour to a girl student.

Bete noire = (Object of dislike).
English is the b’te noire of most students.

Beau ideal = (Model; finest specimen).
The Quaid-i-Azam was the beau ideal of a democratic leader.

Bon voyage = (A happy journey).
I will go to the airport to wish my friend bon voyage.

Bizarre = (Electric, fantastic; grotesque).
There is a marked element of the bizarre in English romantic poetry.

Bon bon = (Sweetmeat).
All children like bon bons.

Bourgeoisie = (The middle class).
Owing to high prices, the bourgeoisie is finding it difficult to make both ends meet.

Boulevard = (A street shaded with trees).
People go out in large numbers every evening to have a walk on the boulevard.

Beau monde = (A false rumour or statement).
The Indian Bean monde have been exposed and the world now knows the truth.

Carte blanche = (Full authority).
The Proctor of the college has been given carte blanche to deal with cases of indiscipline in the way he likes.

Bourgeois = A member of the middle class; a merchant; concerned with material possessions and social status.
They have become very bourgeois since they got married.

Cadre = (A list or rank of officers).
Officers in the same cadre enjoy the same rights and privileges.

Cortege = (A train of attendants; followers).
The queen arrived followed by her cortege.

Cafe = (a restaurant).
Let us go to the cafe and have a cup of tea.

Chauffeur = (Motor-car driver).
I have engaged a chauffeur at Rs.3000 monthly.

Coup d’etat = (Sudden overthrow of an established government).
President Ayub Khan came into power through a coup d’etat.

Cliche = (A hackneyed (much used) literary expression).
In a democracy, many cliches are used to befool the people and get votes.

Charge d’affaires = (Ambassador to a small country).
Pakistan maintains her charge d’affairs in many countries of the world.

De facto = (In fact though not in law).
As long as Hafiz-ul-Asad lived, he was the de facto king of Syria.

De jure = (In law though not in fact).
I am the de jure owner of this house, through I have failed to get possession over it.

De novo = (Afresh; from the very beginning).
The students requested the teacher to begin the lesson de novo.

Dei gratia = (By the grace of God).
Dei gratia my father has recovered from a serious illness.

De profundis = (Cry from the depth of sorrow).
Sweetest poetry and sweetest songs are de profundis.

Debacle = (Sudden route; complete defeat).
Pakistan has constantly increased her defence forces after the debacle in the war with India.

Debut = (First appearance on the stage or society).
The actress was widely cheered on her debut.

Divide at impera = (A policy of divide and rule).
The British ruled India through a policy of divide at impera.

Dramatis personae = (Characters in a novel or drama).
Hamlet is one of the dramatis personae in the famous Shakespearen tragedy ‘Hamlet’.

Denouement = (End).
The denouement of this story comes as a pleasant surprise.

En block or En masse = In a body; all together.
1.    The student left the class en block and went to see the Principal.
2.    The traders went to see the commerce minister en masses.

En route = (On the way).
En route to Lahore, I will drop at Sheikhupura to see the Hiran Minaar.

migr = An emigrant (one who goes and lives in another country).
The British Parliament has passed a law limiting the number of migr from Asia and Africa.

Ex officio = (In virtue of one’s office).
The District Magistrate is ex-officio Chairman of our Board of Governors.

Ex parte = (One-sided)
The judge delivered an ex-parte judgment as the other party was not present in the court.

El dorado = (A country full of gold).
The Europeans regarded India as an Eldorado (for a long time).

Exempli gratia = (e.g.) for example.
Many fruits grow in Kashmir, exempli gratia grapes, apples.

Exit = (Leaves the stage).
Exit the murder with the head of his victim.

Exeunt = (More than one go off the stage).
Exeunt all singers and dancers.

Elite = (Echoice; gentry).
The elite were invited to the college function.

Esprit de corps = (The spirit of belonging to the same group).
N.C.C. inspires the students with esprit de corps.

En tente = (Understanding).

En tente between nations is necessary for peace.

Errata = (A list of errors).
As there were a number of printing mistakes in the book an errata was added at the end.

Façade = (The front of a building).
Our college has an impressive faade.

Fait accompli = (Something already done or accomplished).
She married the man her parents disapproved of and presented them with a fait accompli.

Fiance = (one’s betrothed (male).
He is the fiance of my sister.

Fiancee = One’s betrothed (female).
She is the fiance of my friend.

Faus pas = (A mistake).
Even a single faus pas may result in the defeat of a nation in a modern war.

Facsimile = (An exact copy).
I have kept a facsimile of this letter for my reference.

Genre = (particular style or kind especially of works of art or literature).
The one-act play is a separate genre of literature.

Gendarmes = (armed police).
Four gendarmes caught the thief.

Honoris causa = (For the sake of honour).
The Kansas University conferred LLD on Liaquat Ali Khan honoris causa.

Hauteur = (Haughtiness of manner).
His hauteur is intolerable.

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