Foreign Words and Expressions

Foreign Words and Expressions

Foreign Words and Expressions

There are a few words and expressions, which are used in English while they are not originally parts of English lexicon. They are from other European languages.


à la carte – adjective [before noun], adverb

If you eat à la carte, you choose each dish from different lists instead of eating a fixed combination of dishes at a fixed price:
e.g., You get more choice if you eat à la carte/from the à la carte menu.

à la mode – adjective [after verb], adverb

in the most modern style or fashion or in vogue
e.g., The à la mode jeans are selling like hotcakes nowadays.

à la mode – adjective [after noun]

served with ice cream:
e.g., banana shake à la mode

albeit – conjunction

although, though:
e.g., The morning is very pleasant, albeit a little quiet. She tried, albeit without success.

the avant’garde group noun [singular]

(the work of) the painters, writers, musicians and other artists whose works or deeds or ideas are highly original or modern in comparison to the period in which they live:
e.g., India is the international capital of the yoga avantgarde.

avant-garde – adjective

avant-garde art/cinema/painting
It is one of the first avant-garde performances to appeal to a wide audience.

ad hoc – adjective [before noun]

made or happening only for a particular purpose or need, not planned in advance:
an ad hoc committee/meeting
e.g., He deals with problems on an ad hoc basis (= as they happen).

ad ‘lib – adjective [before noun], adverb

said without any preparation or thought in advance:
e.g., She had forgotten the notes for her speech so she had to do it ad lib.
e.g., ad-lib remarks

ad-lib – verb [Intransitive or Transitive]

to speak in public without having planned what to say:
e.g., She ad-libbed her way through the entire speech.

au revoir – exclamation

goodbye until meet again:
e.g., “Here’s hoping it is au revoir and not goodbye”

ad infinitum – adverb

forever, without ending:
e.g., Some rivers flow ad infinitum.

ad interim – adverb

e.g., Ravi starting college in March. Meanwhile, he is travelling around Bengal.

alma mater – noun

the school, college or university where we studied; or, the official song of a school, college or university

ad valorem – adverb, adjective

in proportion to the estimated value of the goods or transaction concerned:
e.g., “The subsidy might be calculated ad valorem as the price per unit.”

ad valorem – adjective

(tax or customs duties) proportionate to the estimated value of the goods or transaction concerned:
e.g., “Ad valorem stamp duty at the rate of 5 per cent is payable.”

annus mirabilis – [countable] (plural anni mirabilis)

a year of extremely good events:
e.g., 1947 was the annus mirabilis in which India became independent.

a’propos (RELATED) – adverb, preposition

used to introduce something which is related to or connected with something that has just been said:
e.g., I had a letter from Mishu yesterday – apropos (of) which, did you send her that article?
e.g., Apropos what you are saying, I think you have the right decision. 

a’propos (SUITABLE) – adjective [after verb]

suitable in a particular situation or at a particular time:
e.g., clothes which are apropos to the occasion

alibi – noun [countable]

proof that someone who is thought to have committed a crime could not have done it, especially the fact or claim that they were in another place at the time it happened:
e.g., Raji has a cast-iron alibi – he was in the hospital the week of the murder.

alibi – noun [countable]

an excuse for something bad or for a failure:
e.g., Even after two years in power, the manager can no longer use the previous manager’s policy as an alibi for his own failure.

ad nauseam – adverb

when talk becomes very boring:
e.g., He talks ad nauseam about how clever his children are.

alter ‘ego – noun [countable] (plural alter egos)

a bosom friend, one’s other half:
e.g., The Joker is Superman’s alter ego.

alumnus – [countable] (plural alumni)

one who has left an institution after completing their studies there:
e.g., the alumni of Brainware University
e.g., Several famous alumni have donated to the maintenance of the school building.

a.m. (ante meredian), am – adverb

the time between twelve o’clock at night and twelve o’clock in the middle of the day:
e.g., The president is expected around 11 a.m.

animus – noun

bad intention, hostility or ill feeling:
e.g., The animus in him took him off his friends.

a priori – adjective [before noun], adverb

a probable fact from a cause, deductive:
e.g., “It’s freezing outside, he must be cold” is an example of a priori logic.

amicus curiae – noun

an impartial adviser or friend to a court of law in a particular case:

ad infinitum – adverb

forever, without end, for good, for even, for an indefinite period:
e.g., They left the village ad infinitum.
e.g., The stream flows ad infinitum.

alpha and omega – phrase (from alpha to omega)

the beginning and the end:
the most important features

alias – preposition

the name that a person is generally known by, besides their real name:
e.g., Mahendra Singh Dhoni, alias Mahi of Jharkhand led India

alias – noun [countable]

a fake name, especially one used by a criminal, nickname:
e.g., The man roams under an alias.

amour propre – noun [uncountable]

belief and confidence in one’s own ability and value, self-love, vanity:
e.g., Her amour propre took her to fame.

AD (Anno Domini) – adverb

used in the Christian calendar when referring to the year after Jesus Christ was born:
e.g., in 1206 AD or, AD 1206
e.g., during the fifth century AD

agent provocateur – noun

a secret agent employed to find the suspected criminals
e.g., The man is an agent provocateur and he has a successful career.