Learning a new language can frequently help you understand your own one even better. Speaking more than one language will enhance your English communication abilities. You might discover that you communicate with more assurance, consider word choice and context more carefully, and have a wider vocabulary! You can have a better grasp of your native tongue by learning the origins of certain regularly used English words.

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Have a look at some of the intriguing words that the English language has incorporated into its vocabulary over time.



  • An “apparatus for taking pictures, consisting of a light-proof enclosure having an aperture with a shuttered lens through which the image of an object is focussed and recorded” is referred to as a camera. The Latin word camera, which meaning “chamber” or “vault,” is where it gets its name. Early cameras were just boxes through which light was manipulated to pass in order to capture a picture.
  • Speaking of cameras, the history of the word “focus” is fascinating! Focus is the Latin term for a hearth or fireplace. In the past, a hearth or fireplace served as the hub of the home since it was the spot where many elements crucial to human survival were linked. It offered shelter, illumination, and a place to cook. The noun focus today is used to denote a “centre of interest or activity.”
  • Do you envision clowns and trapeze performers when we mention “circus,” or an amphitheatre from the Roman era? The Latin word “circus” simply means “circle,” and it was used to describe the circular arenas where everything from chariot races to gladiator fights were held.



  • Pajamas are loose-fitting articles of clothing that are typically worn while sleeping or unwinding in English. The name is derived from the Hindi word paijama, which is used to describe loose-fitting pants. Jamah is Arabic for “garment,” while Pai means “leg.”
  • On a cot before? British citizens were first exposed to Indian khat when the British Empire started to build trading posts in India. A khat was a thin frame with ropes or tape hanging from it that people slept on. This term is the origin of the English word “cot,” which means “a narrow, folding bed.” When you say them out, you’ll hear that they are identical.
  • The word for stolen money or things, loot, has the same pronunciation in Hindi and English. After the British Empire started trading with and plundering in India, it became a part of the English language.



  • Have you ever eaten a kumquat, a fruit related to citrus that resembles an orange? It can be consumed raw or used to make preserves. It has a delicious sweet rind and sour pulp. Its name is derived from the fruit’s similarly sounding Cantonese name, kamkwat. Chinese dialects that are spoken in Canton, or modern-day Guangzhou, in southeast China are known as cantonese. By breaking that word down, we can see that it is made up of the words kam (which means “golden”) and qwat (which means “orange”).
  • Actually, the Chinese word dufu, which consists of the words du (beans) and f (feet), is written as tofu in Japanese (turn sour). Tofu was created in China, but before it reached English-speaking culture, it gained popularity in Japan.
  • Possibly the most bizarre cuisine name with a Chinese origin? Ketchup! It derives from the Amoy dialect name kôe-chiap or kê-chiap (鮭汁), which means “brine of pickled fish.” In China in the 17th century, a sauce made of pickled fish and spices was well-liked. Later, it travelled to Malaysia and Singapore, where it was sampled by English vacationers. Of fact, pickled fish brine is not at all present in current ketchup! It is vegan.



  • The term “gold” has roots in many different languages. The initial root is simple. It was directly translated from German into English. We follow the German gold back through the Dutch goud, the Gothic gulp, and finally to the Proto-Indo-European ghel, which meaning “to shine” (ha, see what we did there?).
  • Kindergarten is a word that every Kindergarten student in America is familiar with. In German, it adorably just means “children’s garden.” “Children are like miniature flowers; they are varied and need care, but each is attractive alone and wonderful when seen in the community of peers,” said German educator Friedrich Froebel, who established the first kindergarten. Could it possibly be cuter?
  • Unbelievably, noodle AND poodle are both derived from German words that have slightly different spellings but the same pronunciation. The name “noodle” is derived from the German word “nudel,” which is said to have come from the Old German word “knutel” or “nutel,” which meant “dumpling.” The German word “Pudelhund,” which translates to “puddle dog,” is short for “poodle.” Originally, poodles were water dogs that loved to splash in puddles.



  • One of the numerous Italian words we use in music is piano. Italian speakers initially referred to the musical instrument as a pianoforte. A pianoforte may play both softly and loudly because piano means “soft” and forte means “powerful” in Italian. The original term, “a gravicembalo col piano e forte,” which translates to “a harpsichord with soft and loud,” was even lengthier. Although the name “piano” was abbreviated by English speakers, piano music can still be quite loud!
  • Name a dish from Italy right away! Although you might not consider broccoli to be very Italian, its name most definitely is! It refers to a cabbage’s flowering crest or “cabbage sprouts” in Italian. Actually belonging to the same plant species, Brassica oleracea, are broccoli and cabbage.
  • A complete failure, especially one that is embarrassing or absurd, is referred to as a fiasco. Actually, it has an interesting history and is an Italian word. In Italian, “fiasco” literally translates to “flask” or “bottle.” When someone fell or made a terrible error on stage, it was referred to as a “Far fiasco,” which is slang for “create a bottle.” How come they said that? Nobody is aware!

Did any of these terms catch you off guard? Do you feel inspired to learn a new language after learning about the etymologies of English words? Levantine Arabic language instruction is offered online by Nasma Of NY. Check us out now!