Civilisation/Language

From Quiz Revision Notes

World languages

A language isolate, in the absolute sense, is a natural language with no demonstrable genealogical (or ‘genetic’) relationship with other living languages; that is, one that has not been demonstrated to descend from an ancestor common to any other language, e.g. Basque, Korean

Mapuche is a language isolate spoken in south-central Chile by the Mapuche people

An agglutinative language is a language that uses agglutination extensively: most words are formed by joining morphemes together

Interlingua is an international auxiliary language (IAL), developed between 1937 and 1951. It ranks among the top three most widely used IALs (after Esperanto and Ido)

Esperanto was invented in 1887 by Polish ophthalmologist Dr. Zamenhof

Toki Pona is a constructed language, first published online in 2001. It was designed by translator and linguist Sonja Elen Kisa

Linguistic diversity index (LDI) is an index to measure how diverse a country’s languages are. It is on a scale of 1 to 0 with 1 indicating total diversity (that is, no two people have the same mother tongue. Papua New Guinea has the highest LDI (0.99)

ISO 639 – codes for the representation of the names of languages

Basic English is an English-based controlled language created by linguist and philosopher Charles Kay Ogden as an international auxiliary language, and as an aid for teaching English as a second language

Globish – subset of the English language created by Jean-Paul Nerrierre, consisting of c. 1500 words

A sprachbund is a geographic area having several languages that feature common linguistic structures

Languages with more than 100 million native speakers – Mandarin Chinese, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Hindi/Urdu, Arabic, Bengali, Russian, Japanese

Major language families, in terms of numbers of native speakers as a proportion of world population –

1.    Indo-European languages 45%

2.    Sino-Tibetan languages 22%

3.    Niger–Congo languages 6.4%

4.    Afroasiatic languages 6.0%

5.    Austronesian languages 5.9%

6.    Dravidian languages 3.7%

7.    Altaic languages 2.3%

8.    Japonic languages 2.1%

9.    Austroasiatic languages 1.7%

10. Tai–Kadai languages 1.3%

East Germanic languages – group of extinct Indo-European languages in the Germanic family. The only East Germanic language of which texts are known is Gothic; other languages that are assumed to be East Germanic include Vandalic, Burgundian, and Crimean Gothic

West Germanic languages – the largest of the three traditional branches of the Germanic family of languages and include languages such as English, Dutch and Afrikaans, German, the Frisian languages, and Yiddish

North Germanic languages – also known as Scandinavian or Nordic languages

Norn – North Germanic language previously spoken in Orkney and Shetland

Dravidian language family includes approximately 85 genetically related languages, spoken by about 217 million people. They are mainly spoken in southern India. The most widely spoken Dravidian languages are Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu

Telugu is a Dravidian language primarily spoken in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, where it is the official language

Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamils in India, Sri Lanka and Singapore and smaller communities of speakers in many other countries. It is the official language of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu

Kannada is one of the major Dravidian languages of India, spoken predominantly in the state of Karnatak

Celtic family is divided into Goidelic (including Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx) and Brythonic, including Welsh, Breton, and Cornish)

Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) is the linguistic reconstruction of a common ancestor of the Indo-European languages spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans. The Proto-Indo-Europeans likely lived during the late Neolithic

Semitic – a language group in the Afroasiatic language family that includes Hebrew and Arabic

Amharic is a Semitic language spoken in North Central Ethiopia by the Amhara. It is the second most-spoken Semitic language in the world, after Arabic

The earliest attested Semitic language, Akkadain used the cuneiform writing system, which was originally used to write ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate

Austronesian languages are a language family widely dispersed throughout the islands of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, with a few members spoken on continental Asia that are spoken by about 386 million people

Tagalog is an Austronesian language and is the largest of the Philippine languages in terms of the number of speakers. Filipino is the standardized version of Tagalog

Tetum is an Austronesian language, a national language and one of the two official languages of East Timor. In East Timor Portuguese is also a main language spoken

Marathi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by the Marathi people of western and central India. It is the official language of the state of Maharashtra. There are 90 million fluent speakers worldwide. Marathi is the 4th most spoken language in India

Vasconic languages are a hypothetical language family that was once widespread on the European continent before it was mostly replaced by Indo-European languages. Relicts of the Vasconic languages include the Basque language

Altaic is a proposed, but widely discredited, language family of central Eurasia. Various versions include the Turkic, Mongolic, Tungusic, Koreanic, and Japonic languages

Tatar – a Turkik language

Tai-Kadai languages include Thai and Lao, the national languages of Thailand and Laos

The most widely spoken Niger–Congo languages by number of native speakers are Yoruba, Igbo, Fula, Shona and Zulu. The most widely spoken by total number of speakers is Swahili

Uralic languages are a family of 38 languages. The Uralic languages with the most native speakers are Hungarian, Finnish, and Estonian

Tanzania has the most Swahili speakers

Igbo is a native language of the Igbo people, an ethnic group primarily located in southeastern Nigeria

English is official language of Nigeria

Shona – a Bantu language, native to the Shona people of Zimbabwe and southern Zambia

Latvian – also known as Lettish

Sami – Norwegian language

Bokmal and Nynorsk – written languages of Norway

Swedish is an official language of Finland

Romansh is one of the four national languages of Switzerland, along with German, Italian and French. It is a Romance language spoken primarily in Graubunden

Languedoc – Romance language

Occitan is a Romance language spoken in southern France, and parts of Italy and Spain

Hungarian is a Uralic language, part of the Ugric group

Euskara – spoken by Basques

Catalan is official language of Andorra

Attic Greek – the prestige dialect of Ancient Greek that was spoken in Attica, which includes Athens

Hittite is the earliest attested Indo-European language. It is the most copiously known of the subfamily of Anatolian languages

Sorbian languages are two closely related languages spoken by the Sorbs, a Slavic minority in the Lusatia region of eastern Germany. They are classified under the West Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages

Pahlavi denotes a particular and exclusively written form of various Middle Iranian languages

Dzongkha is the national language of the Kingdom of Bhutan

Sindhi is the language of the Sindh region of South Asia, which is now a province of Pakistan

Evenki is spoken by Evenks in Russia, Mongolia, and People's Republic of China

Yiddish – based on German

Tok Pisin is spoken in Papua New Guinea

Peru has most Quechua speakers

Nahuatl was the language of the Aztecs

Silbo Gomero is a whistled language spoken by inhabitants of La Gomera in the Canary Islands to communicate across the deep valleys that radiate through the island

800 languages are spoken in Papua New Guinea

Shem – language group including Arabic, Hebrew and Maltese

Ainu language is spoken by the Ainu ethnic group on the Japanese island of Hokkaido. It was once also spoken in the Kurile Islands and the southern half of Sakhalin

Guarani – Paraguay’s indigenous language

Bengali – language of Bangladesh

South Africa has 11 official languages

Afrikaans language – ‘Cape Dutch’

English is the official language of Sierra Leone

English is the national language of Namibia

Official languages of Singapore – English, Tamil, Malay and Mandarin Chinese

The standard language of Mongolia is based on the Khalkha dialect

Pashtu and Dari – Afghan official languages

Australian upspeak – statements have a rising intonation pattern in the final syllable or syllables of the utterance

Bactrian language – an extinct Eastern Iranian language which was spoken in the Central Asian region of Bactria (present-day Afghanistan)

Lahnda or Western Punjabi Languages are Indo-Aryan languages that are spoken in South Asia

Creole language – a stable, full-fledged language that originated from a pidgin or combination of other languages

Bislama is a creole language, one of the official languages of Vanuatu

Ebonics (a blend of the words ebony and phonics) is a term that was originally intended to refer to the language of all people descended from enslaved Black Africans

Dayak – native people of Borneo. Dayak languages are categorised as part of the Austronesian languages in Asia

Tuareg are a Berber people. They are the principal inhabitants of the Saharan interior of North Africa. The Tuareg languages have an estimated 1.2 million speakers

Xhosa is one of the official languages of South Africa. Xhosa is spoken by approximately 7.9 million people, or about 18% of the South African population

Gurmukhi is the most common script used for writing the Punjabi language in India

Pinyin is the official phonetic system for transcribing the sound of Chinese characters into Latin script in China, Taiwan, and Singapore. It is often used to teach Standard Chinese and spell Chinese names in foreign publications

Portuguese is the sole official language of Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, and São Tome and Príncipe

Thembu are one of the handful of nations and population groups which speak Xhosa in South Africa. The most famous Thembu person was Nelson Mandela

Syriac is a dialect of Middle Aramaic that was once spoken across much of the Fertile Crescent and Eastern Arabia

Nama (in older sources also called Namaqua) are an African ethnic group of South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. They traditionally speak the Nama language

Malay is the national language of Brunei, Malaysia, and Indonesia and it is one of four official languages of Singapore (with English, Mandarin, and Tamil)

Clicks – speech sounds that occur as consonants in many languages of southern Africa

Alphabets

Runic alphabets – a set of related alphabets using letters (known as runes) formerly used to write Germanic languages before and shortly after the Christianization of Scandinavia and the British Isles. The Scandinavian variants are also known as Futhark

Hebrew alphabet – 22 letters, from aleph to tav

There are seven vowels in the Greek alphabet

Welsh alphabet has eight digraphs, and seven vowels

In the German alphabet, ß is a letter that originated as a ligature of ss or sz. Its German name is Eszett or scharfes

Hangul is the native alphabet of the Korean language

Old English Latin alphabet generally consisted of 24 letters, and was in use for writing Old English from the 9th to the 12th centuries. Of these, 20 were directly adopted letters of the Latin alphabet, two were modifications  of Latin letters, and two were developments from the runic alphabet

Since the 19th century, Devanagari has been the most commonly used script for writing Sanskrit. Devanagari is used to write Hindi

The Solomon Islands alphabet is the smallest alphabet, with only 11 letters. The Khmer alphabet in Cambodia is the largest, with 74 letters

Ogham – an Early Medieval alphabet used primarily to write the Old Irish language, and occasionally the Brythonic language

Grammar

Conjunction – a word or group of words that joins together words, groups, or clauses; e.g. and, because, but

Types of verb – indicative, interrogative, subjunctive and imperative

A transitive verb – a verb that requires both a direct subject and one or more objects

Intransitive verb – a verb that has a subject but not an object, e.g. die, complain

Types of noun – collective, proper and common

Proper noun – a noun that in its primary application refers to a unique entity, such as London, as distinguished from a common noun, which usually refers to a class of entities (cities)

Abstract nouns – concepts, e.g. peace, truth and joy

Conditional clauses – introduced by ‘if’ or ‘unless’

Adjective – a describing word

Adverb – a describing word for anything other than a noun

Pronoun – a word that stands in place of a noun

Preposition – a word placed in front of a noun or pronoun to show its relationship to another part of the sentence, e.g. at, in, on. For example, in the sentence ‘The cat sleeps on the sofa’, the word ‘on’ is a preposition

Interjection – a word that expresses emotion, e.g. alas!

Himself – reflexive form of ‘him’

Infinitives – to ‘go’, to ‘do’

The – definite article

A, an – indefinite articles

Phrase – a group of words that does not contain a verb

Myself – reflexive personal pronoun of ‘me’

Comma – most used punctuation mark

The plural is sometimes formed by simply changing the vowel sound of the singular, in a process called umlaut (these are sometimes called mutated plurals) – e.g. geese, men, women, feet

Irregular plural – has an unusual ending added, e.g. wives, potatoes, cacti

Reduplicated words – the stem of a word, or only part of it, are repeated e.g. chit-chat, hanky-panky, mumbo-jumbo

Pluperfect tense – also called past perfect in English, is used to refer to an event that has completed before another past action

Metanalysis – the act of breaking down a word or phrase into segments or meanings not original to it

Eye rhyme – a rhyme consisting of words, such as champagne and lasagne, with same ending but different sounds

Cognate anagrams – a rearrangement of letters, where the original word or phrase is related in meaning to the anagram, e.g. ‘unto a star’ and ‘astronaut’

A dependent clause (sometimes called a subordinate clause) is a clause that augments an independent clause with additional information, but which cannot stand alone as a sentence

Cognates are words that have a common etymological origin

Auxiliary verb – a verb that adds functional or grammatical meaning to the clause in which it appears

Participle – a form of a verb that is used in a sentence to modify a noun, noun phrase, verb or verb phrase

Subject–verb–object (SVO) is a sentence structure where the subject comes first, the verb second, and the object third. Languages may be classified according to the dominant sequence of these elements

Fricatives – a type of consonant

Voiceless dental fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in some oral languages. It is familiar to English speakers as the 'th' in thing

Words derived from foreign languages

Aardvark – Dutch for ‘earth pig’

Abacus – Latin word came from Greek abax, ‘board strewn with sand or dust used for drawing geometric figures or calculating’

Aber – means ‘mouth of a river’

Abigail – traditional term for a waiting-woman

Aborigine – means ‘from the beginning’

Absinthe – known as ‘the green fairy’

Ab urbe condita – ‘from the founding of the city’

Acephalous – means ‘headless’, whether literally or metaphorically

Acid – from Latin for ‘sour’

Acoustics – from Greek for ‘to hear’

Ad hoc – means ‘for this purpose’. A solution designed for a specific problem

Ad hominem – Latin for ‘to the man’, short for argumentum ad hominem, means responding to arguments by attacking a person's character, rather than to the content of their arguments

Ad lib – short for ad libitum, literally ‘according to pleasure’

Ad nauseum – Latin phrase meaning ‘to a sickening degree’

Adieu – means ‘to God’

Adrenal – means ‘on the kidney’

Advent – anglicized from the Latin word adventus meaning ‘coming’

Aeroflot – means ‘volunteer force’ or ‘air fleet’

Aficianado – ardent fan (Spanish). Used to describe fans of bullfighting

Afon – means ‘river’

Afrikaner – South African of European descent with Afrikaans as the native language. Descendants of the Boers

AG – Aktiengesellschaft, a German company traded on the stock market

Agenda – Latin for ‘things to be done’

Agent provocateur – inciting agent (French)

Aglet – metal or plastic sheath over the end of a shoelace. French for 'small needle'

Aileron – French for ‘little wing’

A la carte – French for ‘according to the menu’

A la mode – French for ‘fashionable’

Alba – Gaelic name for Scotland

Albuquerque – means ‘white oak’

Alcatraz – means ‘penguin’

Alcohol – from Arabic al-kuḥl, the kohl, a powder used as an eyeliner

Al dente – Italian for ‘to the tooth’. Used to describe the way pasta should be served – cooked through but still firm

Alea iacta est – ‘the die is cast’

Al forno – Italian for ‘dish cooked in the oven’

Al fresco – in the fresh (Italian). Slang term for ‘in prison’ in Italy

Algarve – from an Arabic word meaning ‘the west’

Algebra – comes from the Arabic language (al-jabr, literally, ‘restoration’)

Algia – means pain, e.g. neuralgia

Algorithm – a corruption of the name of Arabic mathematician Al-Khwarizmi

Alibi – Latin for ‘elsewhere’ or ‘in another place’

Aliphatic – from the Greek aleiphar meaning ‘fat’ or ‘oil’

Al Jazeera – means ‘the island’ or ‘the peninsula’

Allah Akbar – Arabic for ‘God is great’

Allegory – from Greek for ‘speaking otherwise’

Alligator – from Spanish for ‘lizard’

Alma mater – Latin for ‘nourishing mother’. Your university

Allosaurus – means ‘different lizard’

Amaretto – from the Italian amaro, meaning ‘bitter’

Amarillo – Spanish for ‘yellow’

Amen – Hebrew for ‘truth’

Amnesty – means ‘official pardon’

Amok – furious attack (Malay). To run amok

Amphibian – Greek for ‘double life’

Amuse-bouche – mouth amuser (French). Complementary taster chosen by the chef

Amy – means ‘beloved’

Andalucia – from Arabic for ‘the west’

Andante – means ‘going’, in Italian

Andro – prefix meaning ‘man’

Android – from the Greek ‘man’ and the suffix -oid ‘having the form or likeness of’

Anesthesia – from Greek for ‘without feeling’

Angel – from Greek word meaning ‘messenger’

Angkor Wat – derived from Sanskrit word for ‘city’ and Khmer word for ‘temple’

Angle – from the Latin word angulus, meaning ‘a corner’

Angst – fear (German)

Ankh – means ‘life’

Anno domini – Medieval Latin for ‘in the year of the Lord’

Anorak – heavy hooded jacket (Greenland Inuit)

Anschluss – German for ‘connection’ or ‘union’

Antarctica – named by Greeks as anti-arctos, i.e. anti-bear

Antipasto – (plural antipasti) means ‘before the meal’

Antipodes – from Greek: ‘opposed’ and foot’ refers to any point on the Earth's surface which is diametrically opposite to it

Apartheid – means ‘separateness’

Aperture – from Latin for ‘to open’

Aphorism – from the Greek aphorismos meaning ‘to define’

Apocalypse – meaning 'un-covering', translated literally from Greek, is a disclosure of knowledge

Apostle – ‘one sent forth’

A posteriori – ‘from the late’. Experience is important (see a priori)

Appellation controlee – officially certified origin (French)

A priori – ‘from the earlier’. Experience is not important. Latin for ‘from what precedes’ (see a posteriori)

Apropos – on the subject of (French). Means ‘apt’ or ‘by the way’

Arable – from Latin ‘to plough’

Archbishop – Greek for ‘chief bishop’

Archipelago – from Greek for ‘chief’ and ‘sea’

Architect – from Greek for ‘chief builder’

Arctic – from Greek word for ‘bear’

Argon – from the Greek for ‘lazy’ or ‘inactive’

Arpeggio – Italian for ‘to play on a harp’

Arriviste – a person who has arrived (French)

Ars gratia artis – MGM slogan, means ‘art for art’s sake’

Ars longa, vita brevis – the art is long, life is short (Latin). Coined by Hippocrates

Arthropod – means ‘jointed foot’

Asafa – means ‘rising to the occasion’

Asbestos – from the Greek for ‘unquenchable’ or ‘inextinguishable’

Ashkabat – Persian meaning ‘City of Love’

Assassin – may have derived from Arabic for ‘hashish eater’

Assiette – French word for ‘plate’

Assize – refers to the sittings or sessions (Old French ‘assises’) of the judges, known as ‘justices of assize’

Asterisk – Greek for ‘little star’

Aswad – Arabic for ‘black’

Altamira – Spanish for 'high view'

Alter ego – other self (Latin)

Atom – from Greek ‘atomas’, meaning indivisible

Atelier – a French word literally translated as ‘workshop.’ In English, it is used to refer to an artist's working studio, typically a fashion studio for Haute couture

Atlantic Ocean – from ‘sea of Atlas’

Au fait – informed (French)

Auld Lang Syne – means ‘Old Long Since’

Au Revoir – ‘until we meet again’

Autarchism – from Greek ‘belief in self rule’ is a political philosophy that upholds the principle of individual liberty, rejects compulsory government, and supports the elimination of government in favor of ruling oneself and no other

Aurum – means ‘shiny dawn’

Auto-da-fe – act of faith (Portuguese). Comes from the Spanish Inquisition. In English the term is used to describe an image of a heretic being burned at the stake

Avalanche – snow slide (Romansh)

Avant-garde – means ‘advance guard’ or ‘vanguard’

Avocado – Nahuatl word

Avoirdupois – from Old French, literally ‘goods of weight’

Ayatollah – means ‘sign of God (Allah)’

Azure – from the Persian ‘Lazheward’, which is the name of a place in Afghanistan that in ancient times was the main source for lapis lazuli

Ba'al – a northwest Semitic title and honorific meaning ‘master’ or ‘lord’ that is used for various gods who were patrons of cities in the Levant

Babylon – Rastafarian word for the western world

Baccala – Italian for ‘salt cod’

Bacteria – from Greek for ‘staff’ or ‘cane’, because the first ones to be discovered were rod-shaped

Bad – German for ‘bath’

Bagel – from a High German word

Baghdad – means ‘Garden of God’

Bahamas – Spanish for ‘shallow water’

Bahrain – means ‘two seas’

Bain-marie – means ‘Mary’s bath’. French cooking utensil

Baksheesh – ‘gift’ (Persian)

Bald – means ‘white-headed’

Bambi – known as ‘prince of the forest’

Banal – French for ‘feudal service’

Banana – means ‘fruit of wise men’

Bandana – ‘to tie’ (Hindi, via Sanskrit)

Bank – derives from the Italian word banco ‘desk/bench’, used during the Renaissance by Florentines bankers, who used to make their transactions above a desk covered by a green tablecloth

Banshee – Irish for ‘female of the elves / fairies’

Baptism – from Greek for ‘to bathe or dip’

Barack – Swahili for ‘blessing’

Barbados – from the Portuguese for ‘bearded’

Barbarian – someone whose first language was not Greek

Baroque – from Portuguese for ‘misshapen pearl’

Bascule – French for ‘seesaw’

Basilica – from Greek for ‘royal’

Basset hound – from the French word ‘bas’ meaning ‘low’

Baton Rouge – French for ‘red stick’

Baumwolle – German name for ‘cotton’

Bayonet – from French town of Bayonne where it was made

Bazaar – ‘marketplace’ (Persian)

Beagle – from French begueule meaning ‘open throat’

Beaumaris – French for ‘fair marsh’

Beelzebub – means ‘Lord of the Flies’

Belgrade – means ‘white city’

Belgium – named after an ancient Celtic tribe, the Belges

Belvedere – means ‘fair view’ in Italian, refers to any architectural structure sited to take advantage of such a view

Ben Nevis – Gaelic for ‘terrible mountain’

Berserk – bear shirt (Old Norse)

Bete noire – black beast (French)

Bethlehem – means ‘house of bread’

Betws-y-Coed – means ‘Prayer house in the wood’

Bharata – Sanskrit name for Indian subcontinent

Bichon Frise – French, literally meaning ‘curly lap dog’

Bidet – French for ‘pony’

Bijou – jewel (French)

Bimbo – derived from Italian for ‘child’ (bambino)

Biology – Greek for ‘life study’

Bis in die – Latin for ‘twice a day’. Seen on prescriptions

Bismillah – means ‘in the name of God’ in Arabic

Bizarre – from the Basque word for ‘beard’

Blasé – from French blaser, ‘to cloy’

Bloemfontein – means ‘fountain of flowers’

Blunderbuss – Dutch for ‘thunder gun’

Boche – contemptuous term used to refer to a German, especially a German soldier

Boer – Dutch word for ‘farmer’

Boko Haram – means ‘Western education is forbidden’

Bolshevik – means ‘majority’

Bolshoi – means ‘grand’

Bonanza – Spanish for ‘good weather’

Bona Fide – ‘in good faith’

Bonhomie – simple good-heartedness (French)

Bon mot – ‘right word’ (French). A quip or witty remark

Boondocks – from Tagalog word for ‘mountain’

Bordello – brothel (Italian)

Bosquet – French, from Italian bosco, "grove, wood". A plantation of trees in a French formal garden

Botany – derived from Greek word for ‘herb’

Boudicca – means ‘victory’ in Old Welsh

Bouffant – French for ‘puff out’

La Bourse – means ‘the purse’

Bowery – from Old Dutch word for ‘farm’

Brandy – from Dutch for ‘burnt wine’

Breve – a diacritical mark ˘, shaped like the bottom half of a circle

Bric-a-brac – French expression meaning ‘at random’

Brio – vigour, vivacity (Spanish / Italian)

Brochet – French for ‘pike’

A la brochette – means ‘on a skewer’

Broccoli – from Italian for ‘little shoot’ or ‘cabbage sprout’

Brogue – Irish for ‘leg covering’

Bromance – a portmanteau of the words bro or brother and romance

Brontosaurus – means ‘thunder lizard’

Buccaneer – from ‘barbequer’

Budgerigar – from ‘good cockatoo’ in Aboriginal

Budget – from French for ‘little bag’ or ‘purse’

Bugle – from Latin for ‘bullock’

Bulb – from the Greek for ‘onion’

Bulimia – Greek for ‘ox’ and ‘hunger’

Burrito – Spanish for ‘small donkey’

Buttero – a shepherd or cowboy in Tuscany

Cab – short for cabriolet (as in taxi cab)

Cadmium – from Greek word for ‘calamine’

Cagoule – French for ‘hood’

Cairngorms – Gaelic name for ‘Blue Rocky Hill’

Calculus – comes from the Latin word for ‘pebble’

Cafeteria – Spanish for ‘coffee shop’

Caldo – Italian for ‘hot’

Caliph – Arabic for ‘successor’

Calli – means ‘beautiful’, as in calligraphy

Callipygian – Greek for ‘beautiful buttocks’

Calzone – means ‘trouser leg’

Camouflage – from French word meaning ‘to disguise’

Campanella – Italian for ‘little bell’

Campus – means ‘field’ in Latin

Canada – from a First Nations word kanata for ‘settlement’, ‘village’, or ‘land’

Cancan – French for ‘scandal’

Candidate – from the Latin candidatus (‘white-robed’), because candidates for office in Rome were clothed in a white toga

Cannelloni – means ‘big tubes’

Canto – a principal form of division in a long poem, especially the epic. The word comes from the Latin cantus, meaning ‘song’

Canyon – from Spanish for ‘tube’

Capercaillie – largest member of the grouse family. Name derived from the Gaelic capull coille, meaning ‘horse of the woods’

Capiche – Italian for ‘do you understand’

Capo tasto, or simply capo, is a device used for shortening the strings, and hence raising the pitch, of a stringed instrument

Carfax – derives from the French carrefour ‘crossroads’, or quatre-face ‘four-face’

Carnival – from Italian for ‘removal of meat’

Carpe diem – a phrase from a Latin poem by Horace. It is popularly translated as ‘seize the day’

Carte blanche – white or blank card (French). Military term meaning surrender from 1700s when a blank piece of paper was given to a victorious commander on which they could write their terms

Carthage – 'new town' in Phoenician

Cartoon – from Italian cartone, meaning ‘heavy paper’

Casablanca – means ‘white house’ in Spanish

Casbah – means citadel (fortress) in Arabic

Casino – from Italian for ‘little house’

Cassette – French for ‘little box’

Cassock – from Italian for ‘long coat’

Cataclysm – the Greek expression for the Biblical Great Flood of Noah, from the Greek kataklysmos, to ‘waste down’

Catamaran – Tamil for ‘tied wood’

Catastrophe – Greek for ‘down turning’

Catena – Latin for ‘chain’

Caucus – Algonquin for ‘meeting of tribal leaders’

Cause celebre – ‘famous case’ (French). Became common after the false conviction of Alfred Dreyfuss in 1894

Cava – from the Spanish word for ‘cellar’

Cavalier – derives from the same Latin root as the French word chevalier (as well as the Spanish word caballero), the word caballarius, meaning ‘horseman’

Cavatappi – pasta, from Italian for ‘corkscrew’

Cenotaph – means ‘empty tomb’

Cephalophore – (from the Greek for ‘head-carrier’) is a saint who is generally depicted carrying his or her own head; in art, this was usually meant to signify that the subject in question had been martyred by beheading

Cephalopod – means ‘head foot’

Ceramic – from Greek for ‘pottery’

Cerebellum – Latin for ‘little brain’

Cerise – a purplish red colour. From the French word meaning ‘cherry’

Chagrin – distress (French)

Chaise – type of carriage. From French for ‘chair’

Chambre – French for ‘bedroom’

Champs Elysses – French for Elysian Fields

Chanterelle – means ‘drinking cup’

Chapacubra – from chupar ‘to suck’ and cabra ‘goat’, literally ‘goat sucker’, is a legendary creature rumoured to inhabit parts of the Americas

Charmarghz – Afghan word for walnut .Means ‘four brains’

Chauvinism – named after Nicolas Chauvin, a follower of Napoleon

Checkmate – Persian for ‘the king is dead’

Cheetah – from Sanskrit for ‘speckled’

Chenille – French word for ‘caterpillar’

Cherchez la femme – look for the woman (French). Taken from the 1854 book Les Mohicans de Paris by Alexandre Dumas pere

-chester, -caster or -cester on an English place name indicates that it is of Roman origin, referring to a camp or fort

Chic – elegant (French)

Chicago – a French rendering of the Native American word shikaakwa, meaning ‘wild onion’ or ‘wild garlic’

Chili con carne – ‘chili with meat’

Chindit – a corruption of the Burmese word for ‘winged stone lion’

Chipolata – comes from the Italian for ‘a dish of onions’

Chipping – in a place name means ‘market’

Chi Rho – the first two letters (chi = ch and rho = r) in the Greek spelling of the word ‘Christ’

Chiromancy – from Greek ‘hand divination’

Chiroptera – Greek for ‘hand wing’

Chloe – from the Greek meaning ‘young green shoot’

Chocolate – Nahuatl for ‘bitter water’

Chop chop – hurry (Chinese, as Pidgin English)

Chop suey – mixed pieces (Chinese)

Chorea – ancient Greek for ‘dance’

Chow mein – Chinese for ‘fried noodles’

Christ – ancient Greek Christos, meaning ‘anointed’

Chromosome – from Greek for ‘coloured body’

Chrys – prefix referring to gold, from Greek chrysos

Chrysanthemum – means ‘golden flower’ in Greek. National flower of Japan

Chthonic – Greek for ‘subterranean’, pertains to deities or spirits of the underworld

Chukka – from Sanskrit for ‘circle’ or ‘wheel’

Chutney – ‘to taste’ (Hindi)

Chutzpah – Yiddish word meaning ‘nerve or self-confidence’

Ciabatta – Italian for ‘slipper’

Cilium – Latin for ‘eyelash’

Cinema – from Greek for ‘motion’

Cirrhosis – from Greek word meaning ‘tawny’

Cirrus – means ‘filament of hair’

Clair de lune – French for ‘moonlight’

Claptrap – originally a theatrical trick to win applause

Clavis – latin for ‘key’

Cliche – from the name of a printing plate in France cast from movable type. This is also called a stereotype

Climate – from Greek for ‘slope’

Cloaca Maxima – means ‘greatest sewer’. Constructed in Rome c. 600 BC

Cloche – French for ‘bell’

Clone – derived from the Greek word for ‘trunk, branch’, referring to the process whereby a new plant can be created from a twig

Cobra – Portuguese for ‘snake’

Codeine – Greek for ‘poppy head’

Coelacanth – means 'hollow spine' in Greek

Coffee – the term was introduced to Europe by the Ottoman Turkish ‘kahve’, which is, in turn, derived from the Arabic ‘qahweh’

Cognoscenti – those who know (Italian)

Coleoptera – ‘sheath-winged’, beetles

Coleslaw – from Dutch for ‘cabbage salad’

Collage – French for ‘to glue’

Comet – from Greek for ‘long haired’

Commissar – means ‘one trusted’. An official of the Communist Party who was assigned to teach party principles to a military unit

Commode – French for ‘chest of drawers’

Compere – someone who introduces acts. French word for ‘godfather’

Compos mentis – a sound mind (Latin)

Compostela – comes from Latin campus stellae, i.e. ‘field of stars’, making Santiago de Compostela ‘St. James of the Field of Stars’. This name would come from the belief that the bones of St. James were taken from the Middle East to Spain

Compos mentis – ‘of sound mind’

Conchiglie – from the Italian for ‘seashell’

Conchobar – Irish male name meaning ‘lover of hounds’. It is the source of the Irish names Conor, Connor, etc. It is a name borne by several figures from Irish history and legend

Conclave – Latin for ‘lockable room’

Concrete –from the Latin word concretus, meaning ‘compact’ or ‘condensed’

Confetti – sweets (Italian). The term is used in Italy for sugared almonds, which are eaten at weddings

Connoisseur – expert (French)

Conspiracy – means ‘breathing together’

Contract – from Latin for ‘to draw together’

Contrapposto – an Italian term that means ‘counterpose’. It is used in the visual arts to describe a human figure standing with most of its weight on one foot

Contretemps – ‘against the time’ (French). Originally a mistimed thrust in a fencing bout

Copa del Rey – Spanish for ‘king’s cup’

Cordillera – Spanish for ‘little rope’

Cordon Bleu – means ‘blue ribbon’

Coriander – from the Greek for ‘resembling a bedbug’

Corgi – Welsh for ‘dwarf dog’

Cornet – from Latin for ‘horn’

Cornichon – French for ‘gherkin’

Coronary – comes from the Latin ‘corona’ and Greek ‘koron’ meaning crown

Corpus delicti – legal term meaning ‘the essence of the crime’

Corpus luteum – Latin for ‘yellow body’

Corrida – Spanish word for ‘bullfighting’

Corrida de toros – Spanish for ‘running of bulls’

Cosi Fan Tutte – Italian for ‘thus do they all’

Cossack – from Turkish for ‘adventurer’ or ‘freeman’

Costard – a now-extinct medieval variety of large, ribbed apple

Cotyledon – Greek for ‘seed leaf’

Count – from the French ‘comte’

Coulis – from French for ‘strained liquid’

Coup d’etat – French for ‘strike/blow of state’

Coup de grace – ‘blow of mercy’ (French). A final death blow that ends the suffering of someone who is wounded

Cowboy – from the Spanish ‘vaquero’

Cowling – from Latin for ‘hood’

Crayon – from French for ‘chalk’

Creche – French for ‘crib’ or ‘manger’

Creed – means ‘I believe’

Creme brulee – means ‘burnt cream’

Croon – from Dutch words

Csarda – Hungarian for ‘country inn’

La Cuccaracha – ‘the cockroach’

Cui bono – literally ‘for who’s good?’

Cuisse de grenouilles – frogs’ legs

Curate – form Latin for ‘care’

Curriculum vitae – ‘course of life’ (Latin)

Curry – derived from the Tamil word for ‘sauce’

Cushy – ‘easy’ (Urdu)

Cyclamen – Greek for ‘circle’

Cymbal – derived from Greek word for ‘cup’

Cynosure – French for ‘dog’s tail’. Something that is the centre of attention

Cyst – from Greek for ‘bladder’

Dachshund – German for ‘badger dog’

Dada – French for ‘hobby horse’

Daktari – Swahili for ‘doctor’

Dale – comes from a Nordic/Germanic word for ‘valley’

Damask – named after the city of Damascus

Damson – derived from the Latin Prunum damascunum, ‘plum of Damascus’

Dandelion – means ‘lions tooth’

Darjeeling – Hindi for ‘land of the thunderbolt’

Debacle – ‘collapse’ (French)

Decimation – a form of military discipline used by officers in the Roman Army to punish mutinous or cowardly soldiers. The word decimation is derived from Latin meaning ‘removal of a tenth’

Decoy – from Dutch word for ‘duck cage’

Decree nisi – unless (French). Means ‘not final’, as in a conditional divorce

Decus et tutamen – means ‘an ornament and a safeguard’

Dei gratia – ‘by the grace of god’

Deja vu – means ‘already seen’. The term was coined by a French psychic researcher, Emile Boirac

Delphinium – named because it resembles a dolphin’s head

Demi-monde –‘ half-world’ (French). Means mistresses, or those on the edges of respectable society

Democracy – Greek for ‘people rule’

De mortuis nil nisi bonum – means ‘don’t speak ill of the dead’

Denim – came from the name of a French material, serge de Nimes: serge (a kind of material) from Nimes (a town in France)

Denouement – an untying (French). Tying up the loose ends after the climax of a story

Deo valento – ‘God willing’

Deportivo – means 'sporting'

De profundis – ‘from the depths’

Derelict – from Latin for ‘to abandon’

De rigueur – necessary (French)

Deshabille – undressed (French)

Des Moines – means ‘of the monks’

Detente – French for ‘relaxation’

De trop – in excess (French)

Deus ex machine – ‘god from the machine’ (Latin). A plot device whereby a seemingly inextricable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new character, ability, or object

Diablo – Spanish for ‘devil’

Dialysis – Greek for ‘split’ or ‘separate’

Diaspora – community living away from their homeland (Greek for ‘disperse’ or ‘scatter’). Originated with the exodus of Jews in 5th century BC

Diego – Spanish equivalent of James

Dies Irae – day of wrath. Name of a 13th century Latin hymn

Diet – from Medieval Latin dieta, meaning both ‘parliamentary assembly’ and ‘daily food allowance’

Diglossia – a situation in which two dialects or usually closely related languages are used by a single language community

Diktat – something dictated (German). A punitive decree issued to a defeated nation

Dilettante – ‘one who delights’ (Italian)

Dim sum – Chinese for ‘touch the heart’

Dinosaur – means ‘terrible lizard’. Term coined by Richard Owen

Diocese – the district or churches under the jurisdiction of a bishop; a bishopric. Means ‘to administer’

Diptera – ‘two pairs of wings’, flies

Diptheria – Greek for ‘pair of leather scrolls’

Dipthong – a complex speech sound or glide that begins with one vowel and gradually changes to another vowel within the same syllable

Dis – prefix means ‘abnormal’

Disaster – ‘bad star’ in Greek

Diva – goddess (Italian)

Divan – Persian word for ‘bed’ or ‘long seat’

Dodo – from Portuguese for ‘stupid’

Dolcelatte – Italian cheese, means ‘sweet milk’

Dolce vita – ‘sweet life’ (Italian)

Dolmades – from Turkish for ‘something filled’

Doner kebab – Turkish for ‘rotating roast’

Doolally – camp fever (Urdu). The British Army camp of Deolali is the source of the British slang noun doolally tap, loosely meaning ‘camp fever’, and referring to the apparent madness of men waiting for ships back to Britain after finishing their tour of duty

Domine dirige nos – ‘Lord, direct (guide) us’, is the Latin motto of the City of London

Donegal – means ‘fort of the foreigners’

Doosra – means ‘the second one’ or ‘the other one’

Dopiaza – means ‘double onion’

Doppelganger –‘ double walker’ (German)

Dose – from French for ‘appropriate measure’

Dottir – Icelandic for ‘daughter’

Double entendre –‘ double understanding’ (French)

Doyen – senior member of a group (French)

Draconian – Draco was the first legislator of ancient Athens in the 7th century BC. The stringency of his legal code gave rise to the modern English word draconian

Dressage – French for ‘training’

Dromedary – from Greek for ‘running’

Druid – means ‘knowing the oak tree’

Duce – an Italian word meaning ‘leader’

Dushanbe – means ‘Monday’ in Tajik

Duke – from Latin for ‘leader’

Dungarees – Hindi word for coarse cotton cloth

Dushanbe – means ‘Monday’ in Tajik

Dynamo – from the Greek word dynamis, meaning ‘power’

E pluribus unum – Latin for ‘Out of many, one’, is a motto on the Seal of the United States

Easter – from pagan goddess Eostre

Ebeniste – French word for a cabinetmaker

Eclair – means ‘lightning’

Eclat – splinter, brilliance, burst (French)

Economy – from Greek words ‘oikos’ (house) and ‘nemein’ (to manage)

Edda – Icelandic for ‘great-grandmother’

Eelam – native Tamil name for Sri Lanka

e.g. – exempli gratia

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik – means ‘a small serenade’

Eistedffod – means ‘to be sitting together’

Elan – leap, fervour, burst (French). More sophisticated than eclat

El Cid – means ‘lord’

Electron – from the Greek word for ‘amber’ (also electric)

Elegy – from the Greek word for ‘lament’

Ellan Vannin – Manx for ‘Isle of Man’

El largato – alligator, means ‘the lizard’ in Spanish

El Paso – Spanish for ‘the pass’

El Salvador – means ‘the saviour’

Embonpoint – in good condition, fleshy (French). Like the women in Rubens’ paintings

Eminence Grise – ‘grey cardinal’, someone who exercises power in the background, named after Cardinal Richelieu’s advisor

Enchilada – means ‘seasoned with chili’

Endo – prefix meaning ‘inside’

Endogenous – from Greek ‘proceeding from within’

England – from Angle-Land

Ennui – ‘boredom’ (French)

Entre nous – ‘between ourselves’ (French)

Ergo – means ‘therefore’

Ersatz – a German word literally meaning ‘substitute’ or ‘replacement’, usually an inferior one

Erse – a 16th century to19th century Scots name for Scottish Gaelic

Esau – Hebrew word meaning ‘hairy’

Eskimo – means ‘eater of raw flesh’

Esprit de corps – ‘group spirit’ (French)

Estrus – derived via Latin oestrus (frenzy, gadfly), from Greek (gadfly, breeze, sting, mad impulse). Specifically, this refers to the gadfly that Hera sent to torment Io, who had been won in her heifer form by Zeus

ETA – Euskadi Ta Askatusuna, ‘Basque Homeland and Freedom’

Et al – Et alia, ‘and other people’

Et cetera – ‘and the rest’ (Latin)

Ethiopia – from Greek for ‘burnt face’

Etienne (French) – Steven (English)

Eucharist – from Greek for ‘thanksgiving’

Eugenics – means ‘good birth’

Eunomia – Greek for ‘good order’. Governance according to good laws

Eureka – means ‘I have it’

Ex cathedra – with the authority derived from one's office or position, literally meaning ‘from the chair’

Exchequer – named after the chequer-patterned table used in the medieval period for financial calculations

Exeunt omnis – ‘all leave the stage’

Ex gratia – given as a favour or gratuitously where no legal obligation exists, literally meaning ‘out of kindness’

Ex libris – ‘from the books of’ (Latin). Denotes the ownership of a book

Expletive – from Latin ‘to fill out’

Exo – prefix meaning ‘outside’

Ex officio – ‘by virtue of his/her office’

Exogenous – from Greek ‘proceeding from outside’

Excalibur – means ‘cut steel’

Factotum – ‘do everything’ (Latin). A jack of all trades

Fajita – Spanish for ‘little belt’

Falun Gong – literally means ‘Dharma Wheel Practice’

Farce – from Old French for ‘to stuff’

Farrier – from Middle French: ferrier (blacksmith), from the Latin word ferrum (iron)

Fartlek – means ‘speed play’ in Swedish, is a form of interval training which puts stress on the whole aerobic energy system

Fascism – is derived from the Italian word fascio, which means ‘bundle’ or ‘group’

Fatah – means ‘conquest’

Fauji – Punjabi term for army foot soldiers

Faux pas – ‘wrong step’ (French)

Feldgrau – German for ‘field grey’, the traditional colour of uniforms

Fell – old Norse origin

Femme fatale – ‘deadly woman’ (French)

Feng Shui – means ‘wind and water’

Fennel – from Latin word for ‘hay’

Feral – Latin for ‘wild beast’

Feta – Greek for ‘slice’

Fianna Fail – ‘Soldiers of destiny’

Fianna Gael – ‘Gaelic nation’

Fiasco – failure, or bottle with rope wound around the bottom (Italian)

Filibuster – from Spanish word for ‘pirate’

Fin de siecle – French for ‘end of the century’

Firth – old Norse for ‘fjord’

Fission – named from Otto Frisch

Fitz – a prefix to patronymic surnames of Anglo-Norman origin. This usage derives from the Norman fiz / filz, meaning ‘son of’

Flagellum – Latin for ‘whip’

Flanders – means ‘flooded land’

Flotilla – Spanish for ‘little fleet’

Fluxus – from a Latin word meaning ‘to flow’

Foccacia – derived from the Latin focus meaning ‘centre’ and also ‘fireplace’

Foetus – has recognisable features. Means ‘little one’

Foie Gras – French for ‘fat liver’

Folies Bergeres – from French for ‘leaves’ and ‘shepherdesses’

Forensics – comes from the Latin adjective ‘forensis’ meaning ‘of or before the forum’

Formosa – means ‘beautiful’ in Portuguese

Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat (or juvat) – Fortune favours the brave

Forum – Latin for ‘marketplace’, as in Blandford Forum

Fosse – Latin for ‘ditch’

Friar – from Latin for ‘brother’. A member of one of the mendicant orders

Fram – means ‘forward’

Framboise – French for ‘raspberry’

Franchise – from French ‘to set free’

Fresa – Spanish for ‘strawberry’

Fritillary – from Latin for ‘dice-box’

Frisson –‘ shiver’ (French)

Frottage – ‘rubbing’ (French)

Fulcrum – from Latin ‘fulcire’, to prop

Functus officio – no longer having power of jurisdiction

Furore – excitement / controversy (Italian)

Fuselage – French for ‘spindle-shaped’

Gabreselassie (Haile) – means ‘servant of the trinity’

Galact – prefix meaning ‘milk’

Galapagos – means ‘islands of tortoises’

Galaxy – from Greek for ‘milky’

Gaman – Japanese term of Zen Buddhist origin which means ‘enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity’

Gamelan – ‘struck with a hammer’

Gamine – impish girl or urchin (French)

Gangnam – means ‘south of the river’

Gasket – French for ‘thin rope’

Gastropod – means ‘stomach foot’ in Greek

Gaza – Italian for ‘magpie’

Gazelle – from Arabic for ‘wild goat’

Geisha – Japanese for ‘artisan’

Gen or genic – suffix meaning ‘producing’

Genesis means ‘origin’ in Greek

Genocide –  coined by Raphael Lemkin, a Polish-Jewish legal scholar, in 1944, firstly from the Latin ‘gens, gentis,’ meaning ‘birth, race, stock, kind’ or the Greek root genos (same meaning); secondly from Latin -cidium (cutting, killing) via French -cide

Geography – from Greek ‘ge’ (earth) and ‘graphein’ (to write)

Geology – from Greek for 'earth and 'word'

Geometry – means ‘earth measure’

Ger – Mongolian tent, means ‘home’

Gesamtkunstwerk – German for ‘total work of art’, is a work of art that makes use of all or many art forms or strives to do so

Gestapo – abbreviation of Geheime Staatspolizei, Secret State Police

Gesundheit – means ‘good health’ (German / Yiddish)

Ghoul – from Arabic ‘to seize’

Giacomo – Italian equivalent of James

Gibbous – from Latin for ‘humpbacked’

Gift – German for ‘poison’

Giovanni – Italian equivalent of John

Giraffe – from Arabic word for ‘fast walker’

Glenfiddich – means ‘Valley of the Deer' in Scottish Gaelic

Glitch – ‘slip up’ (Yiddish and German)

Glockenspiel – German, ‘set of bells’ or ‘play-[of-] bells’, also known as orchestra bells

Glossolalia – the practice of making unintelligible utterances, often as part of religious practice. Means ‘speaking in tongues’

Glottal stop – a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. In English the feature is represented for example by the hyphen in uh-oh!

GmbH Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung – (English: company with limited liability)

Gobi – means ‘flat, bare and partly vegetated’ or ‘waterless place’

Golgotha – means ‘place of the skull’

Goulash – means ‘herdsman’s meat’

Gran Chaco – means ‘great hunting ground’

Graphite – from Greek for ‘to write’

Gravitas – ‘seriousness’ (Latin)

Greenland – means ‘land of the Kalaallit’

Grotesque – word derived from Italian for ‘cave painting’

Guerrilla – means ‘little war’

Guevedoce – Spanish for ‘eggs at twelve’. Genetic abnormality seen in Dominican Republic where boys don’t develop testicles (‘eggs’) until their early teens

Guiseppe – Italian equivalent of Joseph

Gummy bear – from German for ‘rubber bear’. Invented by Hans Riegel, the founder of Haribo (Hans Riegel, Bonn)

Gung Ho – Mandarin Chinese for ‘work together’

Guru – teacher (Sanskrit). From the Sanskrit root ‘gru’ which means ‘heavy’

Guyana – means ‘land of many waters’

Gymkhana – from Hindi for ‘racket court’

Gymnasium – means ‘to train naked’

Gymnosperm – means ‘naked seed’, as the seeds are not encased in a carpel

Gypsy – from ‘Egyptian’

Habeas corpus – ‘you have the body’ (Latin). A writ that commands a prison to bring an inmate to court so that a judge can ascertain whether they have been imprisoned lawfully or whether they should be released

Hacek – Czech for ‘little hook’. A diacritic ˇ placed over a letter, an inverted circumflex. Also known as a caron

Hacienda – Spanish word for an estate

Halo – from Greek for ‘disc’

Halogen – originates from 18th century scientific French nomenclature based on adaptations of Greek roots: hals (sea) or halas (salt), and gen- (to generate) — referring to elements which produce a salt in union with a metal

Hamas – from Arabic for ‘enthusiasm’

Hank – a shortened form of Henry

Hannukah – from the Hebrew word for ‘dedication’

Hanoi – means ‘eastern capital’

Hapax legomenon – a word that occurs only once within a context. From Greek for ‘once said’

Hara-kiri – ritual suicide. Means ‘belly cut’. Formal term is seppuku

Haram – an Arabic term meaning ‘forbidden’. In Islam it is used to refer to anything that is prohibited by the faith. Its antonym is halal

Haram – means ‘sanctuary’ or ‘holy site’ in Arabic

Hasta – means ‘until’ in Spanish

Hasta la vista – ‘see you later’ (Spanish)

Haute couture – French for ‘high sewing’

Haute cuisine – ‘high cooking’ (French)

Haversack – from German word habersack

Hazard – from Arabic for ‘the dice’

Heckling – originates from the textile trade, where to heckle was to tease or comb out flax or hemp fibres

Helicopter – from Greek ‘helikos’ (spiral) and ‘pteron’ (wing)

Henchman – referred originally to one who attended a horse for his employer, i.e. a horse groom

Hermaphrodite – a combination of the names of the gods Hermes (male) and Aphrodite (female)

Herzegovina – means ‘duke’s land’

Heuristic – from the Greek for ‘find’

Hex – Pennsylvania Dutch, from German ‘hexen’

Hezbollah – means ‘party of God’

Hibiscus – from Greek for ‘marshmallow’

Hic jacet sepultus – ‘here lies buried’

Himalayas – Sanskrit for ‘abode of the snow’

Hindu Kush – means ‘Hindu Killer’

Hinomaru – Japanese flag. Means ‘circle of the sun’

Hinterland – ‘backcountry’ (German). Also refers to the area from which products are delivered to a port for shipping elsewhere

Hoi polloi – ‘the many’ (Greek)

Holm – from the Old Norse holmr, meaning ‘a small and rounded islet’

Holocaust – comes from the Greek word holokauston, an animal sacrifice offered to a god in which the whole (holos) animal is completely burnt (kaustos). Its Latin form (holocaustum) was first used with specific reference to a massacre of Jews by the chroniclers Roger of Howden and Richard of Devizes in the 1190s

Hoi Oligi – Greek for ‘the few’ (oligarchy). Opposite of Hoi Polloi

Hoi Polloi – Greek for ‘the many’

Homard – French for ‘lobster’

Honcho – Japanese for ‘squad leader’

Honolulu – means ‘sheltered harbour’

Hooch – short for 'hoochinoo, a distilled liquor made by the Hoochinoo Indians from Alaska

Hoplite – from Greek for ‘weapon’

Horoscope – from Greek ‘ora’ (time) and ‘skopein’ (to observe)

Hors de combat – literally meaning ‘outside the fight’, is a French term used to refer to soldiers who are incapable of performing their military function

L’Hotel de Ville – French town hall

Hovis – Hominis Vis, ‘strength of man’

Howe – in a place name means ‘hill’ or ‘mound’

Howitzer – Czech word

Hoy – means ‘high island’

Hue and Cry – former means of apprehending a criminal, by raising the alarm. Means ‘public outcry’

Humerus – Latin for ‘shoulder’

Hustings – from old Norse word

Hydrangea – from Greek for ‘water’ and ‘vessel’

Hymenoptera – ‘membrane-winged’, wasps, bees and ants

Hymn – from Greek for ‘ode’ or ‘song in praise of a god or hero’

Hypo – means ‘under normal levels’

Hyundai – from Korean for ‘modernity’

Ibidem – ‘in the same place’

Ich dien – ‘I serve’

Ichthyosaur – Greek for ‘fish lizard’

Idiopathic – means ‘arising spontaneously or from an obscure or unknown cause’

Igloo – Inuit for ‘house’

Imbroglio – Latin for ‘entangle’

Impi – Zulu word for any armed body of men. However, in English it is often used to refer to a Zulu regiment, which is called an ibutho in Zulu

Impresario – from Italian meaning ‘an enterprise or undertaking’

In camera – literally ‘in the room’. Legal term that means in private with a judge rather than in an open court

Incognito – ‘in disguise’ (Latin)

Incommunicado – ‘cut off from communication’ (Spanish)

In dei nomini – ‘in the name of God’

In dulci jubilo – ‘in sweet rejoicing’

In flagrante delicto – ‘in the blazing offence’ (Latin). Legal term that means that someone has been caught in the act of committing a crime

Infra dig – ‘beneath one's dignity’

In loco parentis – ‘in place of a parent’ (Latin), e.g. foster carer

In medias res – a literary and artistic technique where the narrative starts in the middle of the story instead of from its beginning

Innis – means ‘island’, e.g. Isle of Innisfree

Innuendo – ‘by nodding’ in Latin

In Shalah – means ‘God willing’

Intifada – an Arabic word which literally means ‘shaking off’, though it is usually translated into English as ‘uprising’, ‘resistance’ or ‘rebellion’

Inter alia – ‘amongst other things’

Intercostal – ‘between the ribs’

Investiture – from the Latin preposition in and verb vestire, 'dress' from vestis 'robe'

In vino veritas – ‘in wine, truth’

In vitro –‘ in glass’ (Latin)

In vivo – ‘within the living’

Iodine – from Greek for ‘violet’

Ipso facto – ‘by the fact itself ‘ (Latin). An effect is the result of the action being discussed

Isotope – from Greek for ‘equal place’

Itis – suffix meaning ‘inflammation’

Ivan – Russian equivalent of John

Iwo Jima – means ‘sulphur island’

Jaguar – means ‘any large carnivore’

Jamaica – means ‘well watered’

Jamahiriya – Arabic term meaning ‘state of the masses’

Jeep – derived from ‘General Purpose’ (GP)

Jezebel – wicked, blasphemous woman (Hebrew)

Jihad – Arabic for ‘struggle’

Joie de vie – ‘joy of life’ (French)

Joie de vivre – ‘joy of living’ (French)

Jubilee – Hebrew word

Judo – means ‘the way of gentleness’

Jugendstil – German for ‘youth style’. Art Nouveau

Juggernaut – Lord of the Universe (Sanskrit). A form of Krishna. Large statue pushed around on a chariot

Junta – ‘committee’ (Spanish)

Jurassic – from Jura mountains in Switzerland

Kaftan – cotton or silk tunic (Persian). First worn by 14th century Sultans of the Ottoman Empire

Kahuna – priest, expert or wizard (Hawaiian)

Kangchenjunga – means ‘The Five Treasures of Snows’. The treasures represent the five repositories of God, which are gold, silver, gems, grain, and holy books

Kaput – ‘broken’ (German)

Karma – act, action, performance (Sanskrit). The idea that one’s actions influence one’s future in a cycle of cause and effect

Karoshi – can be translated literally from Japanese as ‘death from overwork’

Kaur – means ‘prince’ or ‘princess’

Kayak – ‘hunter’s boat’ (Inuit)

Kebab – cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer (Arabic / Turkish)

Keirin – Japanese for ‘fight’ or ‘battle’

Kendo – means ‘way of the sword’

Ketchup – fish brine (Malay)

Kettle – originates from Latin ‘catillus’

Khartoum – means ‘elephant trunk’

Khaki – used in Urdu language (meaning ‘dusty’) and is from Persian language meaning ‘earth colour’

Kimono – means ‘thing to wear’ or ‘clothing’

Kiosk – Turkish word meaning ‘pavilion’

Kismet – Turkish for ‘fate’ or ‘fortune’

Kitsch – German word for ‘trash’ or ‘tat’

Klutz –‘ blockhead’ (Yiddish)

Koala – means ‘no drink’

Kohen – Hebrew for ‘priest’

Koh-I-Noor – means ‘mountain of light’

Kohl – ‘black powder’ (Arabic)

Kohl – German for ‘cabbage’

Kosher – suitable and pure (Yidddish)

Kowtow – ‘knock the head’ (Chinese)

Kraftwerk – means ‘power plant’ in German

Kuaizi – Chinese for ‘chopsticks’

Kudos – glory, renown (Greek)

Kuklos – Greek for ‘circle’

Kulak – Russian for ‘fist’

Kurgan – the Russian word for a tumulus, a type of burial mound or barrow, heaped over a burial chamber, often of wood

Kuznetsov – Russian equivalent of Smith

Kvetch – Yiddish word meaning ‘to complain or nag’

Kylie – Aboriginal for ‘boomerang’

Kyrie, eleison – Greek for ‘Lord, have mercy’

Laconic – using few words; terse or concise. Named after the inhabitants of Laconia, in Greece

Lacrosse – ‘game of hooked sticks’ (French Canadian)

Lager – from the German lagern, meaning ‘to store’

Laika – Russian for ‘barker’

Laissez-faire – ‘leave alone’ (French)

Lambada – Portuguese for ‘a beating’

Lame – from Latin for ‘thin plate’

Lammas – Anglo-Saxon for ‘loaf-mas’

Lampoon – from French for ‘let us drink’

Landtag – German for ‘state meeting’

Language –from Latin lingua, ‘tongue’

Lanthanum – from Greek word for ‘hidden’

La Paz – Spanish for ‘our lady of peace’

Lapin – French for ‘rabbit’

Lapis – Latin for ‘stone’

Lebensraum – ‘living space’ (German). The space that Hitler decided the German people needed to become a great race, hence the invasions

Lefebvre – French equivalent of Smith

Lent – from the old English word for ‘the spring’

Lepidoptera – ‘scale-winged’

L’esprit de l’escalier – a French term used in English that describes the predicament of thinking of the perfect retort too late. Means ‘staircase wit’

Leviathan – in Modern Hebrew, means ‘whale’

Lex talionis – the law of retaliation equivalent to an offense; the principle of retributive justice based on the Mosaic law of ‘eye for eye, tooth for tooth’ in Exodus. Also called talion

Libretto – Italian for ‘little book’

Liebchen – German for ‘sweetheart’ or ‘darling’

Limey – term for British sailor who drank lime juice to prevent scurvy

Limousine – derived from the name of the French region Limousin, because this covered compartment physically resembled the cloak hood worn by the shepherds there

Lingua franca – (originally Italian for ‘Frankish language’) is a language systematically used to communicate between persons not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language

Linguine – means ‘little tongues’

Links – from Old English for ‘rising ground’

Lithium – from Greek for ‘stone’

Llan – prefix in place names meaning ‘church’

Loch – Gaelic for ‘lake’ or ‘sea inlet’

Locum – short for Locum Tenens. Means ‘to hold the place of’

Lo mein – Chinese for ‘tossed noodles’

Longbow – Welsh word

Loot – ‘plunder’ (Anglo-Indian, from the Hindi lut)

Louche – decadent, shady (French)

Luge – from French for ‘sledge’

Lula – Brazilian for ‘squid’

Lumpen Proletariat – term coined by Karl Marx. Means ‘beneath the working classes’

Lundy – Old Norse for ‘puffin island’

Lycopodium – from Greek lukos,’ wolf’ and podion, diminutive of pous, ‘foot’

Macho – virile, domineering (Spanish)

Machu Picchu – means ‘Old Peak’ in Quechua

Macrame – Arabic word for ‘fringe’

Macron – from the Greek meaning ‘long’, is a diacritic (ē) placed above a vowel

Madrileno – male from Madrid

Maestro – master, teacher (Italian)

Magenta – from the dye magenta, commonly called fuchsine, discovered shortly after the 1859 Battle of Magenta (from the colour of the land all covered by the blood)

Maghreb – means ‘western’ in Arabic

Magi – Latin plural of magus. Followers of Zoroastrianism

Magna Carta – means ‘great charter’

Magna cum laude – Latin for ‘with great honour’

Magnum opus – ‘great work’ (Latin)

Mahabharata – means ‘great hall’ in Sanskrit

Maharishi – means ‘great Sage’

Mahatma – Sanskrit word meaning ‘Great Soul’

Majlis – an Arabic term meaning ‘a place of sitting’ used to describe various types of special gatherings among common interest groups

Majorca – means ‘the larger one’. Spanish name is Mallorca

Mammal – from the Latin word mamma meaning ‘breast’

Mammon – from Aramaic for ‘riches’

Manana – tomorrow (Spanish)

Mandarin – ‘official’ (Malay)

Manga – Japanese for ‘whimsical pictures’

Mantra – ‘instrument of thought’ (Sanskrit)

Maori – means ‘normal’

Mare – from old English for ‘horse’

Mare Nostrum – Roman name for Mediterranean Sea

Marianne – French equivalent of John Bull

Mariposa – Spanish for ‘butterfly’

Marmalade – from marmelo, which is Portuguese for ‘quince’

Marmoreal – ‘marble-like’

Masochism – from the writings of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch

Mata Hari – means ‘eye of the day’ in Malay

Mausoleum – from the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus (near modern-day Bodrum in Turkey), the grave of King Mausolus, the Persian satrap of Caria

Maven – a trusted expert in a particular field. From Yiddish word for ‘one who understands’

Mazel tov – ‘good fortune’ (Yiddish)

Mea culpa – ‘by my own fault’

Meander – derives from a river located in present-day Turkey and known to the Greeks as Maeander, characterized by a very convoluted path along the lower reach

Medulla – from Latin for ‘pith’ or ‘marrow’

Meerschaum – a fine, compact, usually white claylike mineral of hydrous magnesium silicate, used in making pipe bowls. Means ‘sea foam’ in German

Mein Kampf – means ‘my struggle’

Mela – means ‘meeting’ in Sanskrit

Mellitus – Latin for ‘sweet as honey’

Memento mori – a Latin phrase that may be freely translated as ‘Remember that you are mortal’, ‘Remember you will die’, or ‘Remember your death’. It names a genre of artistic creations that vary widely from one another, but which all share the same purpose, which is to remind people of their own mortality

Menage a trois – means ‘household of three’

Mensa – Latin for ‘table’

Menshevik – means ‘minority’

Mens rea – Latin for ‘guilty mind’

Mens sana in corpere sano – ‘A healthy mind in a healthy body’

Mentoring – Mentor was the advisor, friend and teacher of Odysseus

Meuniere – French for ‘miller’s wife’

Meso – prefix meaning ‘in the middle’

Mesophyll – Greek for ‘middle leaf’

Messiah – means ‘anointed’

Metropolis – from Greek for ‘mother’ and ‘city’

Mezzogiorno – Italian for ‘midday’

Mi casa es su casu – ‘my house is your house’ (Spanish)

Miguel – Spanish equivalent of Michael

Mikado – from Japanese for ‘honourable gate’ or ‘exalted gate’

Minaret – from Arabic word meaning ‘lighthouse’

Minion – from Middle French mignon (‘lover, royal favourite, darling’)

Minnehoma – means ‘laughing water’, in poem by Longfellow

Minuet – social dance, from French for ‘small’

Mir – Russian for ‘peace’

Miranda – means ‘to be wondered at’

Mise en scene – staging, direction (French). Everything that can be seen in the picture or onstage

Misr – local name for Egypt

Mnemonic – Greek for ‘mindful’

Modus operandi – means ‘way of working’

Modus vivendi – means ‘way of living’

Molar – from Latin for ‘millstone’

Mole – from ‘earth thrower’ in old English

Mollusc – means ‘soft’

Monotreme – Greek for ‘single opening’

Monsoon – Arabic for ‘season’

Montevideo – from ‘I see a hill’

Moonshine – originally meant ‘nothing’

Moratorium – ‘delay’ (Latin). An authorized period of delay in complying with a legal demand

Moroni – means ‘in the heart of the fire’

Morphine – named after Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams

Mortgage – from French words for ‘dead’ and ‘pledge’

Morus – Latin for ‘mulberry’

Mossad – means ‘institute’

Mosquito – Spanish for ‘little fly’

Moulin Rouge – means ‘red mill’

Muckle Flugga – means ‘great precipice’

Mujahideen – Muslims who struggle in the path of God. From Arabic word ‘jihad’

Mullah – from Arabic word meaning ‘vicar’, ‘master’ and ‘guardian’

Musket – from French for ‘sparrowhawk’

Multum in parvo – means ‘much in little’, and is the motto of Rutland

Munich – means ‘home of the monks’

Il Municipile – Italian for ‘town hall’

Muscovy – a traditional Western name for the Russian state that existed from the 14th century to the late 17th century

Mushroom – from a French word

Mumbo jumbo – probably originated from the Mandingo name Maamajomboo, a masked dancer that took part in religious ceremonies

Muppet – ‘marionette puppet’

Mur – French for ‘wall’

Mutatis mutandis – Latin for ‘the necessary changes having been made’

Myelo – Greek for ‘bone marrow’

Myriad – Greek for 10,000

Nabob – wealthy man / dignitary (Hindi). A corruption of the Urdu nawab

Nacelle – French for ‘a small boat’

Nai – Greek for ‘yes’

Nanjing – means ‘Southern Capital’

Nark – from Romany for ‘nose’

Nasi Goreng – means ‘fried rice’ in Indonesian and Malay

Nave – central area of a church. Latin for ‘ship’

Naypyidaw – means ‘royal capital’ or ‘abode of kings’

NB – nota bene, literally ‘note well’

Necropolis – Greek word meaning ‘city of the dead’, describes large and important burial areas that were in use for long periods

Negev – Hebrew for ‘dry’

Nepotism – from Latin word for ‘nephew’

Ness – in a place name means ‘headland’

Neuroptera – ‘nerve-shaped’, lacewings

Nil desperandum – ‘nothing to be despaired at’ (Latin). Horace wrote it in Odes I

Nile – from the Greek word ‘Neilos’, meaning river valley

Nirvana – Sanskrit for ‘extinction’

Noblesse oblige – ‘nobility obligates’ (French). Those with wealth and status should do something to help those less fortunate than themselves

Noctilucent – luminous at night

Noisette – French for ‘hazelnut’

Non sequitur – means ‘it does not follow’. A statement that seems meaningless in the context of whatever preceded it

Nosh – snack food (Yiddish)

Nostalgia – comes from Greek nostos ‘homeward journey, return home’ and algos ‘pain’

Nous – mind, intellect (Greek)

Nougat – from French word for ‘nut’

Novum Testamentum – Latin phrase for the New Testament

Nubile – meant ‘ready for marriage’

Nullarbor – derived from the Latin nullus for 'nothing' or 'no one' and arbor for 'tree'. The Aboriginal name for the area is Oondiri meaning 'the waterless'

Nullius in verba – Latin for ‘take nobody's word for it’. Motto of Royal Society

Nunc dimittis – Latin for ‘now you dismiss’

Obelisk – Greek for ‘little pointed pillar’

Obit sini prole – died without children

Oboe – from French for ‘high wood’

Ocelot – from Aztec for ‘field tiger’

Oculus – Latin word for eye, used commonly as the name of the round opening in the top of the dome of the Pantheon in Rome. The Oculus in the Pantheon is and has always been open to the weather

Oedipus – Greek for ‘swollen foot’

Oeil-de-boeuf – French for ‘bull’s eye’, is a term applied to a relatively small oval window, typically for an upper storey

Oeuvre – ‘work’ (French). The complete body of work by an artist

Oflag is the abbreviation for Offizierslager, ‘officer’s camp’

Of that Ilk – a Scottish term which often appears in titles. It means ‘of the same’

Ogonek – Polish for’little tail’, is a diacritic hook placed under the lower right corner of a vowel in the Latin alphabet

Oklahoma – from Indian for ‘red people’

Oligo – prefix meaning ‘few’

Olmec – means ‘rubber people’ in Nahuatl

Ombudsman –‘ commission man’ (Swedish)

Omicron – ‘little O’

Omnibus – ‘for everyone’

Omphalos – belly-button, and a religious stone artifact in the ancient world. In Greek, the word means ‘navel’

Oolong – Chinese for ‘black dragon’

Op cit – short for opus citatum, is the term used to provide an endnote or footnote citation to refer the reader to an earlier citation

Oppidum – a Latin word meaning the main settlement in any administrative area of ancient Rome

Opus Dei – from a Latin phrase meaning ‘the work of God’. It is a very conservative Roman Catholic lay organization organized in 1928, whose members have a strong dedication to the Vatican

Orbis non sufficit – means ‘the world is not enough’. Motto of the Bond family

Orchestra – Greek for ‘a dancing place’

Oregano – from the Greek for ‘joy of the mountain’

Orme – Old Norse word for ‘sea serpent’

Ornithos – Greek for ‘bird’

Orthodox – from Greek for ‘right’ and ‘opinion’

Orphopraxy – the belief that right action is as important as religious faith, from Greek: orthos ‘correct’ and praxis ‘deed’

Osama – means ‘young lion’ in Arabic

Osculum – Latin for ‘kiss’

Ossicles – malleus, incus and stapes. Means ‘tiny bones’

Ostracism – from Greek ostrakon, pieces of broken pottery on which voters would write the names of anyone they felt the state could do without for a year

Otaku – a Japanese term used to refer to people with obsessive interests, particularly anime, manga, and video games

Otemoto – Japanese for ‘chopsticks’

Oubliette – from the French meaning ‘forgotten place’, was a form of dungeon which was accessible only from a hatch in a high ceiling

Outre – exaggerated, eccentric (French). Used in reference to extravagant fashions

Oxygen – means ‘acid producer’

Oxi – Greek for ‘no’

Oxymoron – from the Greek for ‘sharp’ and ‘foolish’

Paella – the word for ‘frying pan’ in Valencian

Pagan – from Latin for ‘country dweller’

Pakistan means ‘Land of the Pure’. It was coined in 1934 as Pakstan by Choudhary Rahmat Ali, who published it in the pamphlet Now or Never

Pale – from the Latin word palus, meaning ‘stake’. From this came the figurative meaning of ‘boundary, and ‘beyond the pale’

Palin – prefix meaning ‘again’

Paloma – Spanish for ‘dove’

Panache – means ‘plume’, such as is worn on a hat or a helmet, but the reference is to King Henry IV of France

Pansy – from French pensee, ‘thought’

Pandemonium – means ‘all the demons’ in Greek. Described by Milton in Paradise Lost

Pandora – means ‘all gifted’

Panzer – means ‘armour’

Pannacotta – an Italian phrase which literally means ‘cooked cream’

Panorama – Greek for ‘all’ and ‘sight’. The word was originally coined by the Irish painter Robert Barker to describe his panoramic paintings of Edinburgh

Pantisocracy – meaning ‘equal government for all’ was a utopian scheme devised in 1794 by the poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey for an egalitarian community

Pantomine – Greek for ‘all mimic’

Paparazzi – ‘mosquitoes’ (Italian). From a character in La Dolce Vita, by Fellini

Papier mache – French for ‘chewed-up paper’

Parachute – comes from ‘para’, meaning ‘against’ or ‘counter’ in Ancient Greek, and ‘chute’, the French word for ‘fall’

Paranoia – from Greek word for ‘madness’

Paraphernalia – from Greek for ‘property apart from a dowry’

Parasol – from Italian word

Par excellence – ‘pre-eminent’ (French)

Pariah – untouchable, social outcast (Anglo-Indian). Originally a Tamil tribe of drummers named after the Pari drum

Parlour – from French parler, ‘to speak’

Parole – French for ‘voice’ or ‘spoken word’

Parterre – means ‘on the ground’. In landscape gardening, a formal area of planting, usually square or rectangular

Parthenon – from Greek for ‘maiden’s chamber’

Pas de deux – French, ‘step/dance for two’, is a duet in which ballet dancers perform the dance together

El Paso – means ‘the pass’

Pasodoble (literal meaning in Spanish: double-step) is a typical Spanish march-like musical style as well as the corresponding dance style danced by a couple

Passe – ‘past’ (French)

Passer – as in Passeriformes, means ‘sparrow’

Passim – throughout, everywhere (Latin). Used in footnotes to show that an idea is referred to repeatedly at various points in the work being cited

Passion – Latin for ‘suffering’

Pasta – Italian for ‘dough’

Pasta puttanesca – tart’s spaghetti, In Italian, a puttanesca is a 'lady of the night'

Pastrami – derived from a Yiddish word

Pater Noster – the Lord's Prayer; so called from the first two words in the Latin version. Every tenth bead of a rosary is so called, because at that bead the Lord's Prayer is repeated

Pathemata mathemata – Greek for ‘one learns by suffering’

Patriarch – originally a man who exercised autocratic authority as a pater familias over an extended family

Patriarchy – means ‘the rule of the father’

Pavilion – from Latin for ‘butterfly’

Peccadillo – small sin (Spanish)

Pecora – Italian for ‘sheep’

Pedigree – French for ‘crane’s foot’, from the resemblance of a crane's foot to the claw-like branched lines of succession on a genealogical chart

Pelota – Spanish for ‘ball’

Pelvis –Latin word for ‘basin’

Penguin – derives from the Welsh words for ‘white’ and ‘head’

Peninsula – Latin for ‘almost’ and ‘island’

Penne – Latin for ‘feather’ or ‘quill pen’

Pentecost – from Greek for ‘fiftieth day’

Pepperoni – from Italian for ‘chili’

Perennial – (Latin per, ‘through’, annus, ‘year’)

Perfidious – one who does not keep his faith or word. From the Latin word perfidia

Per se – by, of itself

Pesto – means ‘to crush’. From the same Latin root as pestle

Petanque – from pieds tanques, or ‘stuck feet’

Petit four – French for ‘little oven’

Pharaoh – means ‘great house’

Phatic expression – one whose only function is to perform a social task, as opposed to conveying information, e.g. ‘you’re welcome’

Philadelphia – Greek for ‘brotherly love’

Philately – from French for ‘exemption from charges’

Philosopher – ‘lover of wisdom’

Phloem – Greek for ‘bark’

Phoebe – means ‘bright and shining’

Phosphorus – means ‘light bearing’ in Greek

Phrenology – from Greek for ‘mind’ and ‘knowledge’

Phylum – from Greek for ‘tribe’ or ‘race’

Phyte – suffix meaning ‘plant’

Pianoforte – Italian for ‘soft and loud’

Piccolo – Italian from ‘small’

Picro – prefix meaning ‘bitter’

Pidgin – a simplified language that develops as a means of communication between two or more groups that do not have a language in common

Pied-a-terre – ‘foot on the ground’ (French)

Pied-Noir – means ‘black foot’, a term referring to French citizens of various origins who lived in French Algeria before independence

Piezoelectricity – derived from the Greek piezein, which means ‘to squeeze or press’

Pina colada – means ‘strained pineapple’ in Spanish

Pinot noir – from French for ‘black pine’

Pinxit – Latin for ‘painted’. Formerly put after the artist's name on a painting

Pistol – may be derived from a Czech word

Pistyll – Welsh for ‘waterfall’

Pita bread – means ‘cake’ or ‘pie’

Pius – means ‘dutiful’

Plage – French for ‘beach’

Plantagenet – named after a sprig of Planta genista (broom) that Geoffrey of Anjou adopted as a badge

Placebo – ‘I shall please’ (Latin). In the 17th century a placebo was a treatment given by a doctor purely to please a patient

Plastic – derived from the Greek plastikos meaning ‘capable of being shaped or moulded’

Poll tax – poll means ‘head’

Poltergeist – ‘noisy ghost’ (German)

Pomegranate – Latin for ‘apple’ and ‘full of seeds’

Pommel – Latin for ‘little apple’

Pontus – Greek: ‘sea’, is a historical Greek designation for a region on the southern coast of the Black Sea, located in modern-day northeastern Turkey

Poodle – from German word meaning ‘to paddle’ or ‘splash’

Poppycock – from Dutch for ‘soft dung’

Porcelain – from Italian for ‘cowrie shell’, a slang term meaning ‘little piglet’

Porcupine – comes from Middle French porc d'épine ‘thorny pork’, hence the nickname ‘quill pig’ for the animal

Porphyria – from the Greek for ‘purple pigment’

Porpoise – from Latin for ‘pig and ‘fish’

Potlatch – a festival ceremony practiced by indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. The word comes from the Chinook Jargon, meaning ‘to give away’ or ‘a gift’

Prado – means ‘meadow’

Prairie – from Latin for ‘meadow’

Preston – means ‘priest town’

Pret-a-porter – ‘ready to wear’ (French)

Prima donna – ‘first lady’ (Italian)

Prima facie – ‘at first sight’

Prego – means ‘not at all’, ‘don’t mention it’

Premier cru – means ‘first growth’

Pro bono – ‘for good’ (Latin). Work that lawyers do without payment

Prometheus – means ‘forethought’

Propaganda – from the activity of ‘propagating’ the Catholic faith in non-Catholic countries

Pro rata – ‘in proportion’

Prostitute – derived from two Latin words meaning ‘to expose’ or ‘to place up front’

Protege – protected person, apprentice (French)

Protocol – comes from the Greek word protocollon, meaning ‘first glue’. It referred to a leaf glued to a manuscript which described its contents

Provdrish – Russian word meaning ‘comrade’

PS – post scriptum, ‘after writing’

Psephology – from Greek psephos, 'pebble', which the Greeks used as ballots

Pterodactyl – from the Greek for 'wing' and finger'

Pteron – Greek for ‘wing’

Puce – from French word for ‘flea’ (pulce)

Puerta – Spanish for ‘gate’

Puerto Rico – means ‘rich port’ in Spanish

Puissance – French for ‘power’

Pukka – cooked, ripe (Hindi, from ‘pakka’)

Pundit – or pandit, from Sanskrit for ‘learned man’

Punj means ‘five’ and aab means ‘water’, so Punjab means ‘five waters’

Purdah – curtain, veil (Hindi). Requires women to cover themselves with a veil and to be separated from male non-family members by a curtain

Putevki – state-sponsored mass holidays in Soviet Union

Pyjamas – ‘trousers’ (Persian)

Pyrite – from Greek for ‘fire’

QED – quod erat demonstrandum, ‘that which was to be demonstrated’

Quaero – Latin for ‘I search’. EU rival to Google

Quasi – ‘as if’ (Latin)

Quebec – from term in Algonquian meaning ‘straits’

Quid pro quo – ‘something for something’

Rabbi – Hebrew for ‘my master’ or ‘my teacher‘

Rabenmutters – German for ‘raven mothers’, mothers who work

Raccoon – Powhatan for ‘he scratches with his hands’

Raconteur – skilled storyteller (French)

Rafflesia – means ‘corpse flower’

Raison d’etre – ‘reason for being’ (French)

Raj – means ‘kingdom’ or ‘government’

Raja – Arabic for ‘hopefulness’

Rajput – from Sanskrit raja-putra, ‘son of a king’

Rappelling – abseiling (German: abseilen, ‘to rope down’)

Rapport – harmonious relationship (French)

Rara avis – ‘rare bird’. From Juvenal’s Satires: “a bird as rare upon the earth as a black swan”

Real – Spanish for ‘royal’

Recherche – rare, exotic, or obscure

Rechercher – French for ‘to look for’

Reductio ad absurdum – ‘reduction to the absurd’ (Latin). Proving a theorem to be correct by starting out with the opposite claim and showing that it leads to a ridiculous outcome

Reiki – ‘universal life energy’

Renaissance – French for ‘rebirth’

Repechage – (French: repêchage, lit. re-fishing), meaning ‘to rescue’ or ‘to save’

Res ipsa loquitor – ‘the thing speaks for itself’, meaning ‘It’s obvious, surely?’

Res gestae – Latin for ‘things done’

Retrousse – (used of noses) turned up at the end

Rhinoceros – means ‘nose horned’

Rhododendron – means ‘rose tree’ in Greek

Rickshaw – Japanese for ‘human-powered vehicle’

Ricotta – means ‘cooked again’

Riding – from an Old Norse word meaning ‘one-third’ (Yorkshire)

Rigor mortis – ‘stiffness of death’ (Latin)

Robot – Czech word meaning ‘forced labour’. The word robot was introduced by Czech writer Karel Capek in his play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), published in 1920. The play begins in a factory that makes artificial people called robots

Rococo – a combination of the French rocaille, meaning ‘stone’, and coquilles, meaning ‘shell’, due to reliance on these objects as motifs of decoration

Rogation Day – from Latin for ‘to ask’

Roman a clef – French for ‘novel with a key’, is a novel about real life, overlaid with a facade of fiction

Rosemary – derives from the Latin for dew (ros) and sea (marinus), or ‘dew of the sea’

Rosh Hashanah – Jewish ‘head of the year’

Rota – Latin word meaning ‘wheel’

Rottweiler – named after a town in Germany (Rottweil)

Roue – debauched or lecherous man (French). From ‘rouer’, which means to break on a wheel or beat harshly

Rubaiyat – Persian for ‘quatrains’

Rucksack – back bag (German)

Ruth is derived from a Hebrew word meaning ‘compassion’

SA – Societe Anonyme, a corporation

Sabotage – from French word for ‘clog’

Sacred cow – means ‘above criticism’

Sacrilege – desecration, from ‘to purloin sacred objects’

Safari – Swahili word meaning ‘long journey’

Salaam – Muslim word for ‘peace’

Salami – Italian for ‘to salt’

Salsa – from Spanish for ‘sauce’

Samsung – Korean for ‘three stars’

Samurai – Japanese for ‘servant’ or ‘warrior’

Sangfroid – ‘cold blood’ (French)

Sanhedrin – a high court of justice in Roman Palestine, comes from a Greek word literally meaning 'sitting together' or 'assembly'

Sanpan – means ‘three planks’

Sans culottes – French for ‘without knee-breeches’, was a term created 1790–92 by the French to describe the poorer members of the Third Estate

Sans Souci – French for ‘without worries’

Santo Subito – chanted by crowds after the death of the pope. Means ‘sainthood now’

Sapienza – Italian for ‘wisdom’ or ‘knowledge’

Sarcophagus – from Greek for ‘flesh eating’

Sardar – a word of Indo-Iranian origin, was originally used to denote princes, noblemen, and other aristocrats

Sarong – ‘covering’ (Malay). Malay national garment

Sartorial – of or relating to a tailor, tailoring, or tailored clothing: sartorial elegance, (from Late Latin sartor, ‘tailor’)

Sasha – Russian equivalent name for Alexander

Sashimi – means ‘pierced flesh’

Sativum, Sativus, and Sativa – Latin botanical adjectives meaning ‘cultivated’, used to designate certain seed-grown domestic crops

Saudade – a Portuguese word which describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves

Saute – French for ‘jumped’

Savoir faire – ‘know how to do’ (French). First recorded by Walter Scott in his 1815 novel Guy Mannering. Shortened adjective is ‘savvy’

Scale – (musical) from Italian scala meaning ‘staircase’

Scapegoat – i.e. ‘escape-goat’, derives from the common English translation of the Hebrew term azazel

Sceptic – from Latin for ‘inquiring’

Schadenfreude – pleasure taken from another’s suffering (German)

Schizophrenia – from Greek for ‘split mind’

Schlep – Yiddish word meaning ‘drag, to carry with difficulty’

Schloss – German name for ‘castle’

Schmaltz – ‘rendered fat’ (Yiddish)

Schmooze – ‘converse casually’ (Yiddish)

Schmuck – ‘penis’ (Yiddish)

School – means ‘leisure’

Science – from the Latin scientia, meaning ‘knowledge’

Scirocco – from Arabic for ‘eastern’

Sclerosis – means ‘hardening’

Scree – from the Norse for ‘landslide’

Sculpture – from Latin for ‘to carve’

Scutum – Latin word for ‘shield’, although it has in modern times come to be associated with the rectangular, semi-cylindrical body shield carried by ancient Roman Legionnaires

Seance – from French for ‘to sit’

Seersucker – a thin, all-cotton fabric, commonly striped or checkered, used to make clothing for spring and summer wear. The word came into English from Hindustani (Urdu and Hindi), which originates from the Persian words for ‘milk and sugar’

Seig Heil – German for ‘hail victory’

Seine – from Celtic for ‘sacred river’

Semper fidelis – means ‘always faithful’

Seoul – means ‘capital city’

Sepia – Greek for ‘cuttlefish’

Seppuku – formal name for Japanese ritual suicide

Septicemia – blood poisoning. Means ‘rotton blood’

Serpent – from Latin for ‘to creep’

Shamen – priest (Russian / Evenki)

Shampoo – from Hindi word meaning ‘to squeeze or massage’

Sharia – means ‘the road to the watering hole’

Sharif – Arabic for ‘noble’ or ‘highborn’

Sheikh – Arabic for ‘old man’

Shia – ‘followers of Ali’

Shiatsu – from the Japanese for ‘finger pressure’

Shibboleth – any distinguishing practice that is indicative of one's social or regional origin. From the Hebrew word which literally means the part of a plant containing grains

Shimbun – Japanese for ‘newspaper’

Shinto – means ‘the way of the Gods’

Shih Tzu – from the Chinese word for ‘lion dog’

Shish – means ‘skewer’

Shisha – Arabic term for the water pipe, or hookah

Shoah – Hebrew word for ‘holocaust’

Shogun – Japanese for a ‘general’

Shrine – Latin for ‘case or chest for books or papers’

Siberia – means ‘sleeping land’ in Turkic

Sibyl – from the Greek for ‘prophetess’

Sic – thus, in such a way (Latin). Used in publishing to indicate a misspelling or unconventional use of a word

Sichuan – means ‘four circuits of rivers’

Sic transit gloria mundi – Latin phrase that means ‘Thus passes the glory of the world’

Sideros – Greek for ‘iron’

Sierra Leone – means ‘Lion Mountain’

Silhouette – derives from the name of Étienne de Silhouette, a French finance minister who became synonymous with anything made cheaply and so with these outline portraits

Simba – Swahili for ‘lion’

Sinecure – (from Latin sine ‘without’ and cura ‘care’) means an office that requires or involves little or no responsibility, labour, or active service

Sinead – equivalent of Janet

Sine die – Latin for ‘without day’. To adjourn an assembly sine die is to adjourn it for an indefinite period

Sine qua non – ‘without which nothing’. An essential requirement. First used by Aristotle to describe a legal condition that could not be done without

Sinn Fein – ‘ourselves alone’

Sirius – from Greek for ‘scorching’

Skol – ‘cheers’. Danish skaal ‘bowl’, from Old Norse skal

Slalom – means ‘sloping track’

Slapstick –from the Italian word batacchio or bataccio – called the "slap stick" in English – a club-like object composed of two wooden slats used in commedia dell'arte

Smorgasbord – Swedish word: from smörgås ‘open sandwich’ and bord ‘table’

Snob – old word for ‘cobbler’

Soccer – derived from the word ‘association’

Solstice – means ‘sun stands still’

Sombrero – from Spanish for ‘shade’

Somme – from Celtic word for ‘tranquility’

Sophist – from Greek for ‘wise’ or ‘wisdom’

Sophomore – US student in second year. Greek for ‘wise’ and ‘foolish’

Souffle – French for ‘blow up’ or ‘puff up’

Spaghetti – ‘thin strings’

Spago – Italian word for ‘string’

Specchio – Italian for ‘mirror’

Spiel – a play or game (German)

Sphinx – Arabic name Abu al-Hol, means ‘father of terror’

Spiegel – German for ‘mirror’

Sputnik – means ‘fellow traveler’

Sotto voce – means ‘speaking quietly’

Soubriquet – from ‘tap under the chin’

Sour grapes – from the fable The Fox and the Grapes by Aesop

Spiritus mundi – soul, spirit of the world (Latin). Coined by astrologer Agrippa von Nettseheim, who used it as a label for the spirit element that he believed permeated the whole world

Spruce – from Old French Pruce, the name of Prussia

Squirrel – from Greek for ‘shade tail’

Sri Lanka – means ‘resplendent Island’

SsangYong – means ‘double dragons’

Stabat mater – means ‘the mother was standing’

Stadium – from the Greek ‘stade’, a unit of length equal to about 607 feet

Stalag Luft – Stammlager Luft, or Permanent Camp for Airmen

Stanza – Italian for ‘stopping point’

Status Quo – means ‘the current state of affairs’. Shortened from ‘status quo ante bellum’, meaning ‘the state in which things were before the war’

Stegosaurus – means ‘roof lizard’

Stephen – from Greek for ‘crown’

Stet – ‘let it stand’

Stiletto – named after a dagger

Stoichiometry – from Greek for ‘element’ and ‘measure’

Strandkorb – German, ‘beach basket’) is a special chair designed to provide comfort and protection from sun, wind, rain, and sand on beaches

Strategy – from Greek word meaning ‘generalship’

Strath – means valley, e.g. Strathclyde

Stratosphere – from the Latin stratus, meaning 'a spreading out' and sphaira meaning 'ball'

Strudel – German word for ‘whirlpool’

Sub judice – Latin for ‘under judgment’

Subpoena – means ‘under penalty’. A witness summons

Sub rosa – literally ‘under the rose’, meaning ‘in secret’, from the Roman habit of hanging a rose over a council table to indicate that all present were sworn to secrecy

Sudoku – means ‘single number’

Suede leather – from Scandinavian name for Sweden

Sultan – from Arabic for ‘strength’ and ‘authority’

Summa cum laude – Latin for ‘with highest honour’

Suo jure – means ‘in her own right’

Supercilious – from Latin for ‘eyebrow’

Sushi – Japanese for ‘it is sour’

Sussex – from Old English for ‘South Saxons’

Sybarite – synonymous with pleasure and luxury. From the Greek town Sybaris in Italy

Sycophant – from Ancient Greek for ‘fig shower’. The gesture of ‘showing the fig’ was a vulgar one

Synagogue – means ‘meeting and bring together’ or ‘assembly’

Syrinx – Greek for ‘pan pipes’

Tabby – comes from French tabis, and in Medieval Latin attabi. The initial origin of the word seems to be from the Attabiyah section of Baghdad where a type of striped silk was made that was later used to describe cats

Table d’hote – French for ‘the host’s table‘

Taboo – from the Tongan for ‘unclean’

Tabula Rasa – Latin for ‘blank slate’

Tabularium – Latin name for a public records office or registry

Tacitus – means ‘silent’

Taco – from Mexican for ‘plug’

Tactics – from Greek for ‘fit for arranging’

Taekwondo – ‘the way of the foot and fist’ or ‘the way of kicking and punching’

Taffeta – Persian for ‘twisted woven’

Taikonaut – astronaut from China. Named after taikong, the Chinese word for ‘space’

Taliban – means ‘student’

Tambour – French for ‘drum’

Tansy – Greek for ‘immortality’. Type of herb

Tapas – derived from the Spanish verb tapar, ‘to cover’

Tarantula – named after a town in Italy (Taranto)

Tashkent – means ‘stone city’

Tattoo – Polynesian word

Taupe – a dark grayish brown or brownish gray. It takes its name from the French word for ‘mole’

Tawdry – from an annual fare held in the name of St. Awdrey, in Ely

Tele – prefix meaning ‘distant’

Telematics – a portmanteau of the words ‘telecommunications’ and ‘informatics’. Used in vehicle tracking

Telephone – Greek for ‘far voice’ or ‘distant sound’

Television – ‘far seeing’

Temet nosce – ‘know thyself’ (Latin). You must first understand yourself before you can understand others. Inscribed at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. Used by the character of the Oracle in The Matrix

Tempo – Italian for ‘time’

Tempus maximus frequentio – means ‘rush hour’

Tenor – from Latin tenere, ‘to hold’. Tenor was the ‘holding’ voice

Terra – Latin for ‘the Earth’

Terra firma – ‘solid ground’. Part of Italy governed by Venice

Tetragrammaton – from Greek meaning ‘[a word] having four letters’ refers to the name of the God of Israel YHWH used in the Hebrew Bible

Theosophy – a ‘body of truth’ that forms the basis of all religions

Thesaurus means ‘store house’

Thug – thief (Hindi)

Thyroid – from Greek for ‘shield’

Tia – Spanish for ‘aunt’

Tian Shan – Chinese for ‘celestial mountains’

Teide – on Tenerife, means ‘white mountain’

Tika – or tilak or tilaka, religious symbol worn on forehead by Hindu men and women, means ‘third eye’

Tiramisu – Italian for ‘pick me up’

Toccata – from Italian toccare, ‘to touch’

Tofu – Japanese for ‘rotten beans’

Tokamak – transliteration of a Russian word. Acronym of toroidal chamber with magnetic coils

Tokyo – means ‘eastern capital’

Tom Foolery – named after Tom the Fool from Muncaster Castle

Tomography – derived from the Greek tomos (slice) and graphein (to write)

Topolino – Micky Mouse, in Italy

Tora bora – means ‘black cellar’

Torc – also spelled torq or torque, is a rigid circular neck ring or necklace that is open-ended at the front. The word comes from Latin torques, from torqueo, ‘to twist’, because of the twisted shape of the collar

Torpedo – comes from a genus of electric rays in the order Torpediniformes, which in turn comes from the Latin torpere (to be ‘stiff’ or ‘numb’)

Tort – French for ‘wrong’, a civil wrong

Tortellini – Italian for ‘little cake’

Tortilla – from Spanish for ‘little cake’

Tour de force – ‘feat of strength’ (French)

Tout de suite – ‘at once’ (French)

Trampoline – from the Spanish trampolín, meaning ‘a diving board’

Trattoria – from French traiter, meaning ‘to treat’

Trek – ‘long journey’ (Arrikaans)

Trivia – from the Latin for ‘crossroads’

Trombone – French for ‘paper clip’

Troposphere – from the Greek: tropos for ‘turning’ or ‘mixing’

Tsar – ‘emperor’ (Russian)

Tsunami – means ‘harbour wave’

Tulip – from Turkish for ‘turban’

Tundra – from Russian for ‘treeless mountains’

Tungsten – Swedish for ‘heavy stone’

Tutankhamun – means ‘Living Image of Amun’

Tutankhaten – means ‘Living Image of Aten’

Tutu – from French for ‘buttocks’

Tycoon – derived from the Japanese word taikun, taikun, which means ‘great lord’, and was used as a title for the shogun. Brought to the west by Matthew Perry in 1854

Tyrannosaurus Rex – means ‘tyrant lizard king’

U and non-U – U means ‘upper’

Ubermensch – ‘superman’ (German). First used by Nietzsche in Thus Spake Zarathrustra

Uhuru – Swahili for ‘freedom’

Ukulele – from Hawaiian for ‘jumping flea’

Ulan Bator – means ‘red hero’

Uluru – means ‘great pebble’

Urbi et Orbi – ‘to the City [of Rome] and to the World’

Ushanka – Russian for ‘ear hat’

Utopia – Greek for ‘no place’

V1 / V2 bombs – V stood for Vengeance

Vade mecum – ‘go with me’ (Latin). A manual carried by physicians, astrologers or parsons filled with references and calculation aids

Vampire – ‘a nocturnal reanimated corpse’

Vanilla – Spanish for ‘little pod’

Varsovian – of or pertaining to Warsaw or its inhabitants

Velcro – a portmanteau of the two French words velours (‘velvet’), and crochet (‘hook’)

Veld – from the Afrikaans word for 'field'

Velociraptor – means ‘speedy thief’

Vendetta – blood feud. – Italian for ‘revenge’

Venezuela – means ‘little Venice’. Named by Christopher Columbus

Veni, vidi, vici – ‘I came, I saw, I conquered’ is a Latin sentence written by Julius Caesar in 47 BC as a comment on the war with Pharnaces II of Pontus in the city of Zela

Ventriloquism – from Latin for ‘belly’ and ‘speaking’

Verbatim – ‘word for word’ (Latin). The full phrase ‘verbatim et literatim’ means ‘word for word and letter for letter’

Verboten – ‘forbidden’ (German)

Verbum satis sapienti –‘ a word is enough for the wise’ (Latin). Means ‘enough said’

Vertere – means ‘to turn’, as in vertigo, advertisement (turn towards)

Veto – from Latin for ‘I forbid’

Vetus Testamentum – Latin phrase for the Old Testament

Vice versa – ‘the other way round’

Videlicet (Viz) – ‘namely’. Term used in a text to advise the reader that what follows provides more detail about the preceding statement

Vignette – from the same root as vine, originally referred to a decorative border in a book

Viking – means ‘pirate’ or ‘expedition’

Vinculum – Latin for ‘bond’, ‘fetter’, ‘chain’, or ‘tie’

Vindaloo – from Portuguese for ‘wine’ and ‘garlic’

Vinegar – French for ‘sour wine’

Vinland – has been interpreted in two ways: traditionally as Vínland (‘wine-land’) and more recently as Vinland (‘meadow- or pasture-land’)

Virus – from Latin for ‘poison’

Vis-a-vis – ‘face to face’ (French). Means ‘regarding’

Viva voce – oral exam in university. Latin for ‘live voice’

Vladivostok means ‘ruler of the east’

Vodka means ‘little water’

Voila – ‘see there’ (French)

Voile – French for ‘veil’

Vol au Vent – French for ‘flight in the wind’

Volvo – Latin for ‘I roll’

Von – German prefix meaning ‘nobleman’

Vox populi – ‘voice of the people’ (Latin). Reduced version of ‘vox poluli, vox dei’, meaning ‘the voice of the people is the voice of God’

Wagga Wagga means ‘place of many crows’

Walnut – means ‘foreign nut’

Waltz – German word for ‘revolve’

Weald – Old English for ‘forest’

Weimaraner – named after a town in Germany (Weimar)

Wich and wych are names used to denote brine springs or wells

Worsted – name derives from the village of Worstead in the county of Norfolk

Wrasse – via Cornish from the Welsh word gwrach meaning an ‘old woman’ or ‘hag’

Wunderkind – ‘wonder child’ (German)

Wyvern – from Latin for ‘viper’

Xenophobia – Greek for ‘stranger fear’

Xyl- and Xylo- – objects derived from wood

Yacht – from Dutch for ‘hunt’ or ‘chase’

Yardang – Turkish origin, meaning ‘steep bank’

Yin and Yang – balance of opposites (Chinese). Yin denotes negative, dark, calm and feminine qualities. Yang denotes positive, bright, fiery and masculine qualities

Yogurt – Turkish word

Yokozuna – means ‘horizontal rope’

Yoyo – means ‘return’ in Filipino

Yukon – means ‘great river’

Yugo (as in Yugoslavia) – means ‘south’

Zany – from Italian zanni, a traditional masked clown

Zapata – Spanish for ‘shoe’

Zeitgeist – ‘spirit of the age’

Zodiac means ‘circle of animals’

Zoe – means ‘life’ in Greek

Zoo – from Greek zoion meaning ‘animal’

Zorro – means ‘fox’ in Spanish