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The word exchange game!


Did you know that about 80% of the entries in any English dictionary are borrowed? Most of them, naturally, come from Latin, with over 60% of all English words arriving from Ancient Rome or Greece. In scientific and technological spheres, this figure rises to over 90%!


The phenomenon is so common that we have an official term for these borrowings: loanword. And in true borrowing fashion, the term itself is a calque from the German “Lehnwort”.


These days, however, far from borrowing from Antiquity, the English language is now the leading exporter of loanwords, including practically universal terms such as “OK,” “internet,” and “hamburger”.


"As countless linguists have pointed out, it's extremely unlikely that a borrowed word will ever be returned to the donor language.” We certainly clung onto the words below in English...


Did you know all of these words were borrowed from other languages? Can you guess which ones?


1. Eldorado

2. Alcazar

3. Kayak

4. Opera

5. Ketchup

6. Marmalade

7. Siesta

8. Guru

9. Beer

10. Yurt

11. Cobra

12. Croissant

13. Algorithm

14. Energy

15. Dock

16. Vodka

17. Escalade

18. Elf

19. Ski

20. Piano

21. Caramel

22. Bureau

23. Amen

24. Aspirin

25. Cacao

26. Bivouac

27. Bamboo

28. Shampoo

29. Zero

30. Coffee

31. Futon

32. Mask

33. Quartz

34. Drug

35. Poetic


Answers (no peeking...)


1. Eldorado (Spanish)

2. Alcazar (Arabic)

3. Kayak (Danish)

4. Opera (Italian)

5. Ketchup (Chinese) - Unexpected!

6. Marmalade (Portuguese)

7. Siesta (Spanish) - That was easy, wasn’t it?!

8. Guru (Sanskrit)

9. Beer (Dutch)

10. Yurt (Russian)

11. Cobra (Portuguese)

12. Croissant (German) - Bet you didn’t expect that?!

13. Algorithm (Arabic)

14. Energy (French)

15. Dock (Dutch)

16. Vodka (Russian) - This one was easy!

17. Escalade (Italian)

18. Elf (Swedish)

19. Ski (Norwegian)

20. Piano (Italian)

21. Caramel (Arabic)

22. Bureau (French)

23. Amen (Hebrew)

24. Aspirin (German)

25. Cacao (Spanish)

26. Bivouac (German)

27. Bamboo (Malay)

28. Shampoo (Hindi)

29. Zero (Arabic) - Did you learn that at school?

30. Coffee (Turkish)

31. Futon (Japanese)

32. Mask (Italian)

33. Quartz (German)

34. Drug (Dutch) - Is that so surprising? ;)

35. Poetic (French)