Which languages did we borrow these words and phrases from?

Becky Stigall

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Many of the words and phrases we use every day began their existence in another language. Take this quiz to test your knowledge of which "English" phrases were borrowed from other languages.

We all know what the word "ballet" means, but what language it is from?

"Ballet" is a French word. It is a graceful type of dance.

The next time you sneeze, remember the word "gesundheit" is from what language?

"Gesundheit" is a German word that literally means "health." We use it as an alternative to "Bless you," when someone sneezes.

The word "paparazzi" is from what language?

"Paparazzi" is an Italian word. It's from a character, Paparazzo, in a Fellini film. We use it to refer to persistent photographers.

The next time you go to the corner cafe, can you tell the owners what language the word "cafe" is from?

"Cafe" is a French word. The word, in French, means "coffee" or "coffeehouse."

Are you too macho to know that "macho" is a _______ word?

"Macho" is a Spanish word. The word means masculine.

The word "babushka" originated from what language?

"Babushka" is a Russian word, meaning "grandmother." In English, it is a type of scarf.

What language did the delicious "croissant" come from?

"Croissant" is a French word. It is a type of flaky pastry.

"Yin" and "yang" are opposites in what language?

"Yin and yang" is a Chinese concept. We use the phrase to describe opposites, but the Chinese are more specific.

If you're an "entrepreneur," you should know that the word comes from what language?

"Entrepreneur" is a French word. It describes someone who begins something, like a business.

The word "tsunami" originates from what language?

"Tsunami" is a Japanese word. It is used to describe a huge wave, often following an earthquake or volcanic eruption.

What type of _______ piñata have you had at a party?

"Piñata" is a Spanish word. A piñata is a breakable toy stuffed with candy and toys.

The next time you do "karaoke," try singing in _________.

"Karaoke" is a Japanese word. It is a type of sing-along - literally, an "empty orchestra."

It would be a "faux pas" to forget that this phrase is from what language?

"Faux pas" is a French phrase. It means to make a mistake - a false step - socially.

What language does the word "genre" originate from?

The word "genre" is French. It means type.

The next time you go to Victoria's Secret, remember the word "lingerie" is from what language?

"Lingerie" is a French word. It is used to describe fancy underwear or sleepwear.

The word "rendezvous" is from what language?

"Rendezvous" is a French word. It is used to describe a meeting.

The next time you go to the corner deli, remember that the word "delicatessen" is from what language?

"Delicatessen" comes from a German word, "Delikatessen." However, that word comes from a French word for "delicate," "delicatesse."

The word "fest" is from what language?

"Fest" is a German word. It is used to describe a festival.

Swat that "mosquito," but remember, it's a _______ word.

"Mosquito" is a Spanish word. It means "little fly."

Kindergarten is a ______ word.

"Kindergarten" is a German word. The literal translation is "children's garden."

The word "tattoo" is from what language?

"Tattoo," in the sense of art applied to skin, is a Polynesian word. The British brought back the word from their Pacific travels.

"Dancing with the Stars" forgot to tell us that the word "waltz" stems from what language?

Waltz is a German word. It is a type of dance.

"Rucksack" is the same as a backpack in what language?

"Rucksack" is a German word. In German, it breaks down to Rücken (back) and Sack (bag).

The word "glitch" is from what language?

Actually, "glitch" may or may not be a Yiddish word - the origin is uncertain. In any case, a glitch is a little problem.

Next time you're called a "klutz," don't stumble over the fact that it's a _______ word.

"Klutz" is a Yiddish word. Yiddish is a Germanic language.

"Guerrilla," not gorilla, is from what language?

"Guerrilla" is a Spanish word. It means small war.

Relax on the "patio" - which is a _______ word?

"Patio" is a Spanish word. It is used to describe a porch with no ceiling.

Hors d’oeuvre is an appetizer in what language?

"Hors d’oeuvre" is a French phrase. It literally means "apart from the main work," as the appetizer is separate from the main dish in a meal.

The next time you take a "siesta," you may dream in what language?

"Siesta" is a Spanish word, from Latin. It is used to describe a nap or "sixth hour."

"Karate" comes from what language?

"Karate" is a Japanese word. The literal translation is "empty hand."

If you were a true "ninja," you might speak what language?

"Ninja" is a Japanese word. Ninjas are super secret spies.

That folded paper swan is "origami" in what language?

"Origami" is a Japanese word. It is folded paper art.

The phrase "gung-ho" originated from what language?

"Gung-ho" is a Chinese phrase, meaning "to work together." We use it to describe excitement and enthusiasm.

A "moped" can get you around in what language?

"Moped" is a Swedish word. It is a type of small motorbike.

What language did the word "prairie" come from?

"Prairie" is a French word. It means "meadow."

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