9 New Words and Ways to Use Them

9 New Words and Ways to Use Them

The English language is an amalgamation of words from a plethora of different languages. Often we use words from foreign languages to spice up our conversation or the content that we are writing. Unfortunately, probably due to the fact that we aren’t very familiar with these languages, we tend to misuse and misspell these words. Here is a look at some such words and the way that they should be used.

En Masse

This word is often misspelled as on mass. En masse is actually a French word that literally means ‘in mass’. When we use it in English, it is usually to denote the term ‘as a whole’. There are plenty of new authors out there who use the phonetic ‘in’ instead of the French ‘en’ while using this term.

Example: The protestors marched en masse to the town hall.

Ad hoc

This particular term is often wrongly spelled adhoc. The word is of Latin origin and means ‘for this’. In the English language, this term is used as ‘for a specific purpose’ or alternatively ‘made from what was available’. The thing to remember while writing this word is that it is actually two words.

Example: The company plans to hire more staff only on an ad hoc basis.

Entrée

This French word is used in very fancy restaurants in the United States. Unfortunately, it isn’t used correctly. Entrée actually means entrance but the word is used to denote the main course. Ideally, it should be used to describe the appetizers.

Example: If you want an entrée into that exclusive club, you are going to have to get an invite from one of the club members.

Flak

This is probably one we have seen very often. Flak is frequently misspelled as flack. The word is a German abbreviation for Fliegerabwehrkanonen which is an anti-aircraft gun. The word means either the gun or the shells that are fired from it. In English, the word flak is the criticism or opposition that someone faces for their opinions or actions.

Example: His behaviour last night was impetuous and out of line. He can expect a lot of flak for it today.

En route

This particular term is often found misspelled as on route. Many new authors and even some experienced ones make the mistake of replacing the French ‘en’ with the phonetic ‘on’. In French the expression means on the way. It is used in the same way in English.

Example: The pizza is en route so we don’t have to wait much longer to eat.

Segue

The word is frequently misspelled as Segway. The latter is the name of the company that manufactures two-wheeled motorized transporters. The former is a French word that in the original language means ‘now follows’. In English the word is used to denote a smooth transition from one topic to another.

Example: The shot of the murderer segued flawlessly into the next scene of the cops arriving at the crime scene, in the movie.

Ad nauseam

The spelling mistake here is again a phonetic one. Many people end up spelling this word as ad nauseum. The term comes from Latin where it is supposed to mean ‘to the point of vomiting or nausea’. In English, though, the meaning isn’t quite as extreme. The word means something that is done to such an extent that it is now annoying and ridiculous.

Example: My husband kept saying how bad my cooking was ad nauseam. Then I told him that he could take over the cooking himself.

Au Contraire

This particular French expression is again butchered thanks to phonetics. Authors have often written this down as oh contraire, based on the phonetic sound. In French, the term au contraire means on the contrary. English also uses it in the same context.

Example: Didn’t you think she was badly dressed? Au contraire, I found her style refreshingly charming and unique.

Tête-à-tête

The last entry on this list is often written incorrectly as tet a tet. This is another case of the phonetics interfering with the actual spelling of the word. The word is French and literally means head to head. In English, it generally means a private conversation being held between two people.

Example: Sheila and I decided to meet at the coffee shop for a tête-à- tête about her latest romance.

 

The English language will always borrow words from many different sources. We live in the age of Google, however, and therefore, there is absolutely no reason for us to misuse or misspell these words.

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