Are you 'au courant' with foreign phrases?

Sometimes a word or two from another language seems to say it best. How many of these 'imported' terms do you know? And where do they come from?

1. trek

2. semper fidelis

3. joie de vivre

4. pax

5. noblesse oblige

6. shalom

7. esprit de corps

8. satori

9. savoir-faire

10. mensch


(1.) A long march or journey; originally, a 'trek' in South African terms was a journey by a group, as pioneers in undeveloped territory. (Afrikaans)

(2.) Always faithful; often abbreviated as Semper Fi. This is the motto of the United States Marine Corps. (Latin)

(3.) Happy to be alive; said of those who enjoy life. (French)

(4.) Peace; often accompanied by a national adjective. 'Pax Romana' was a period of relative rest that ancient Rome enforced on its territories. 'Pax Britannica' was that which existed under British imperialism. (Latin)

(5.) The responsibility of rank, originally said of the aristocracy. The phrase suggests that birth and privilege have certain duties of generosity and obligation to others. (French)

(6.) It means 'peace,' but it is also used as a salutation and farewell. (Hebrew)

(7.) Team spirit; from 18th-century military lingo. (French)

(8.) Enlightenment. In conventional terms it means an instant recognition of the meaning of life. (Japanese)

(9.) Know-how. This term usually refers to etiquette, although it can include grace and tact. (French)

(10.) Good guy; noble in character. Someone decent, upright, and trustworthy. (Yiddish)

SOURCES: 'Foreignisms,' by Tad Tuleja; 'A Concise Dictionary of Foreign Words and Expressions,' by B.A. Phythian; 'Cassell's Foreign Words and Phrases,' by Adrian Room; 'The Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins,' by Robert Hendrickson.

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