Five German and French words you didn’t know you knew

German and French words are used in English all the time, and you probably don’t even realise you’re doing it. This is simply because England interacts with its neighbours both historically and culturally. Here is a list of our favourite English words that are actually borrowed from French or German.

To abseil – In English this means climbing down a sheer face attached to a rope. It comes from a German phrase ‘sich abseilen’ which literally means ‘to rope yourself down’.

Kitsch – A cheap, sentimental or gaudy item, usually in popular culture, it has the same meaning in both English and German

Wanderlust – Meaning the desire to travel, this German word has certainly travelled to England!

Premier – As in the football term ‘Premier League’ is from the French word ‘premier’ meaning first.

Boutique – Originally a French word for a shop selling items made by the owner, this is now used in English to mean a designer clothes store or trendy, upmarket hotel.

With English being a global language, we are sure to adopt words from lots of different languages and cultures. English has already borrowed a vast variety of words – which are your favourites?


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