Foreign expression can often be found in the English language (and in many other languages too), and knowing the meaning of the most used ones is very important, because it will help you understand pieces of text that include them and you might also need to use them in certain situations. Here are 6 of the most common foreign expressions used in English:
- De Facto: this is a Latin expression and it means “actual” (when used as an adjective) or “in practice” (when used as an adverb). It is used in the legal field in contrast to “de jure”, which means “by law”.
- Vis-à-Vis: this expression comes from French and its literal translation would be “face to face” (when used as an adverb). However, it is used more as a preposition, and its meaning is “compared with” or “in relation to”.
- Status quo: again a famous Latin expression which means “the current or existing state of affairs”. When you change the status quo, it means that you are changing the way things are in the present moment.
- Cul-de-sac: this expression originated in England and it was used by French-speaking aristocrats. What it literally means is “bottom of a sack”, but it is usually used to refer to a dead-end street. It can also be used metaphorically to express an action that leads to nowhere or an impasse.
- Per se: this is a Latin expression that means “by itself” or “intrinsically”.
- Ad hoc: again borrowed from Latin, it can be used both as an adjective, in which case it means “formed or created with a specific purpose”, and as an adverb, in which case the meaning would be “for the specific purpose or situation”.