Choose the Foreign Word That Completes the Sentence


By: Allison Lips

5 Min Quiz

Image: martin-dm/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

English is a mutt. Native English speakers borrow words from other languages without thinking twice about where the words originally came from. Occasionally, we don't even realize that we're not using an English word to describe something!

While prescriptivist linguists will defend the purity of the English langue and disapprove of our rampant usage of foreign words, the reality is that English speakers enjoy the variety. As James Nicoll explained on Usenet in the early 1990s, "We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle through their pockets for new vocabulary."

Obviously, English does not literally chase down other languages for words. Its speakers naturally introduce new words to their vocabulary as necessary. How else would we describe sushi, espresso, or tacos without borrowing the words from their languages of origin? For the record, the languages in question are Japanese, Italian, and Spanish.

Food isn't the only subject we adopt foreign words for. Sometimes we describe someone as having "savoir-faire" or "chutzpah," which are taken from French and Yiddish respectively. Other times, we have fun with friends and say "adios" or "bon voyage" to wish them well until next time.

Since you use foreign words all the time, test your knowledge of loanwords! Can you identify the words that correctly complete the following sentences?

Even though I haven't been here before, I am experiencing __________ because this place seems so familiar.

English borrowed "déjà vu" from French. The phrase means "already seen."


It takes a lot of __________ for a student to tell the teacher he's completely wrong.

"Chutzpah" comes from Yiddish. Typically, it is used to describe someone with sheer audacity.


Whenever someone falls, there is a certain feeling of ____________ because it wasn’t you.

"Schadenfreude" is German. It is a compound word created from "schaden," which means damage, and "freude," which translates as joy.


He was given _________ to do whatever he wants.

The first known English usage of "carte blanche" was in 1751. The phrase literally means blank document.


My grandparents went on a cruise, so I waved ___________ as the ship left the dock.

"Bon voyage" is a French phrase. According to Merriam-Webster, the phrase entered English sometime in the 15th century.


My uncle's barber shop quartet sings __________.

"A cappella" is derived from "cappella," which is the Italian word for chapel. The phrase originally meant that music was performed "in chapel or choir style."


I enjoy eating ______________ to take advantage of the nice weather.

In Italian, the word "fresco" means fresh. "Fresco" alone can be used to describe a type of plaster painting.


In the Mario Brothers games, Wario is Mario's _____________.

The German writer Johan Paul Richter created the word "doppelgänger" in 1796. The word combines "doppel," which means double, and "gänger," which means "goer."


Sarah's feeling naughty because every sentence she says is a ___________.

While "double entendre" is regularly used in English, it is considered obsolete in French. In French, the phrase literally means double meaning.


When a cake has a certain ____________, some say the secret ingredient to baking is love.

"Je ne sais quoi" comes from French. It is used when an object or person has a quality that is hard to describe.


After Uncle Bob had an argument with my dad, he’s ________________ in our house.

Merriam-Webster found the first usage of "persona non grata" occurred in 1888. The phrase comes from Latin.


Our German teacher says we are ______________ from sharing answers to the test with the next class.

The German language gave English "verboten." The word is derived from "farboten," which means "to forbid."


In the 60s, the Summer of Love captured the _______________.

"Zeitgeist" is a German word, meaning "spirit of the times." It combines "zeit" and "geist." The former means "time," while the latter means "spirit."


He loves cigars, so he could be considered a cigar ______________.

"Aficionado" was taken from Spanish. The word comes from the Spanish verb "aficionar," which translates as "to inspire affections."


The ______________ live in the McMansions on the other side of town and drive luxury cars.

English borrows "nouveau riche" from French. It entered English toward the end of the 18th century.


Let’s ________________ at the bar after work.

English takes "rendezvous" form French. The word derives from the Middle French "rendez vous," which means present yourselves.


Instead of saying bless you, my German friend said ___________.

"Gesundheit" is borrowed from German. In German, the word means health.


If you’re looking for a promotion, you may have to ____________ your superiors.

English borrows "schmooze" from Yiddish. Other Yiddish words used in English include schlep and schlock.


My grandmother says her neighbor is such a ___________ because he always helps with her groceries.

"Mensch" worked its way into the English language from German by way of Yiddish. In Middle High German, "mensch" means "man" in the sense of "human being."


My sister loves designer clothes because they make her feel ____________.

Chic entered English in the mid-1800s. The word is originally French.


In history class, the teacher was talking about the German bombings over London, which were called a _____________.

Blitzkrieg entered English in 1937. It is formed from the words "blitz" and "krieg." The former means lightning and the latter means war.


After the office potluck, I was stuffed because it was a _________________ of homemade dishes.

Smorgasbord is a Swedish word. It combines the Swedish words for open sandwich and table.


Over the last few years, _____________, a Japanese dish with raw fish, has become popular.

While English spears use sushi to refer to dishes made with raw fish, "sushi" specifically refers to the rice soaked in vinegar used in such dishes.


If you go to the end of the ________________, you’ll find my house on the right.

English borrowed "cul-de-sac" from French. In French, it literally means bottom of the bag.


Yesterday, Matt went completely ______________ on the dance floor at the wild party.

As a noun, English borrows "loco," meaning crazy, from Spanish. The Italian definition of loco is "at place" and is often used in music.


After a week-long vacation, he was sad to say ____________ to Spain.

"Adios" means goodbye in Spanish. However, its Spanish form derives form "a Dios seas." That means "may you be commended to God."


I know you think you have a great idea, but ________________ because the boss is never going to agree to it.

"Au contraire" is French. The phrase means "on the contrary."


It’s a cliché, but movies set in France always seem to have a boy riding a bicycle delivering a ______________ for breakfast.

"Baguette" is French. It is derived from the French word for rod.


Grandma has a collection of porcelain figurines and other assorted __________.

English adopted "bric-a-brac" from French. Merriam-Webster dates the first usage in English to 1840.


The millionaire insists on calling his _________________ because he hates to drive.

English borrows "chauffeur" from French. In French, chauffeur literally means "one that heats" because the first chauffeurs kept the fire in a steam engine going.


High school was miserable for me because I never found a _________________ where I belonged.

French is the source of the word "clique." English adopted the word in the early-1700s.


Eventually, Larry will crack and reveal what is underneath that ________________.

Facade is from French. French borrowed the word from the Italian "facciata," which means face.


Uma Thurman plays a _____________ in "Kill Bill."

English borrows "femme fatale" from French. The phrase literally means "disastrous woman."


Instead of having a Sweet Sixteen, a South American teenage girl may have a ______________.

In places where having a quinceañera is common, it is a religious and social event that stresses the importance of family. Fifteen-year-old girls in Mexico and Latin America usually have one.


When it rains, you may keep your clothes dry with a ________________.

Originally from American Spanish, "poncho" entered English in the early-1700s. Since ponchos have no sleeves, they are worn through a hole that goes over a wearer's head.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!