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definition - Pseudo-anglicism

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Pseudo-anglicisms are words in languages other than English which were borrowed from English but are used in a way native English speakers would not readily recognize or understand. Pseudo-anglicisms often take the form of compound words, combining elements of multiple English words to create a new word that appears to be English but is unrecognisable to a native speaker of English. It is also common for a genuine English word to be used to mean something completely different from its original meaning.

Pseudo-anglicisms are related to false friends or false cognates. Many speakers of a language which employs pseudo-anglicisms believe that the relevant words are genuine anglicisms and can be used in English.

When many English words are incorporated into many languages, language enthusiasts and purists often look down on this phenomenon, terming it (depending on the importing language) Denglisch, Franglais or similar neologisms.


  Pseudo-anglicisms in various languages

  Multiple languages

  • Air-Condition (German, Croatian, Greek) — air conditioning
  • Apart (Korean 아파트, Japanese アパート) - Apartment
  • Autostop or stop (Croatian, French, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Bulgarian автостоп, Spanish, Turkish) — hitchhiking
  • Ball Pen (Korean 볼펜, Japanese ボールペン) — ball point pen
  • Basket (Arabic, Danish, Spanish, Turkish, French, Italian, Indonesian, Greek) — Basketball
  • Baskets (French, Romanian) — sneakers, trainers (basketball shoes)
  • Beamer (Dutch, German, Romanian) — video projector, primarily digital
  • Beauty farm (Dutch, German, Italian) — spa
  • Black Music (French, German) — urban music
  • Body (for dancing) (French, Italian, Romanian) — leotard
  • Body (for infants) (Italian, French, Polish, Turkish "Badi", Spanish) — infant bodysuit
  • Box (for toddlers) (Dutch, Italian) — playpen
  • Box (for vehicles) (French, Italian) — garage
  • Break (French, Romanian brec) — a station wagon (American English) or estate car (British English) - cf. shooting brake
  • Camping (Croatian, German, Dutch, French, Greek, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Russian кемпинг, Spanish) — campsite
  • Camping-car (French, Japanese キャンピングカー) — Campervan or "recreational vehicle"
  • Car (French, Swiss German) — coach, tour bus or inter-city bus
  • Catch (French; now considered old-fashioned in Italian) — professional wrestling
  • Classic music (Korean 클래식 음악, Japanese クラシック音楽, Turkish) - Classical music
  • Coffee (Some Arabic dialects) - Café
  • Cornflakes (Arabic) - Any breakfast cereal
  • Cunning (Korean 커닝, Japanese カンニング) - Cheating
  • Dancing (Flemish, French, Italian) — dance hall or dancing-house or nightclub
  • Discount (Diskont) (Croatian, German, Polish Dyskont, Serbian) — a store
  • Feeling (Italian, French) — personal chemistry, common bond[1]
  • Fitness (Brazilian Portuguese, Croatian, Danish, Dutch, French, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Russian фитнес, Spanish, Turkish) — fitness training as a kind of gymnastics
  • Flipper (Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian; Croatian fliper, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese) — pinball machine
  • Footing (French, Italian, Spanish) — jogging
  • Fotoshooting (German, Romanian) — photo session
  • Fotoshop (Brazilian Portuguese, Croatian, Turkish), fotosop (Hungarian) — a manipulated photo (from the name of Adobe Photoshop)
  • Full (Croatian, Serbian ful, Turkish) — Full house (in poker)
  • Handphone (Filipino languages, Indonesian, Korean 핸드폰) — a mobile phone
  • Happy end (Brazilian Portuguese, Croatian, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Korean 해피엔드, Japanese ハッピーエンド, Polish, Romanian, Russian хэппи-энд) — happy ending
  • Homepage (Danish, German) — website
  • Hometrainer (French, German, Dutch) — exercise bicycle or other low-level consumer fitness machine
  • IC (Chinese, Japanese, Korean) - interchange
  • Jolly (Italian, Romanian) — joker or wild card
  • Killer (Croatian, Italian, German, Polish, Russian киллер) — hitman, contract killer
  • K-Way (Italian, French) — Windbreaker
  • Lifting (Brazilian Portuguese, Croatian, French, Greek, Italian, Polish, Turkish, Romanian, Spanish, Swiss German) — facelift'
  • Limousine or Limousine bus (Korean 리무진 버스, Japanese リムジンバス, Turkish) - airport shuttle
  • Limousine (Some Arabic dialects) - taxi
  • Living (Flemish, French, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish) — living room or set of living room furniture
  • Luna park (Greek, Italian, Polish, Turkish) — funfair
  • Mail (Croatian, German, Danish, French, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish) — e-mail
  • Marketing (Arabic, German, Croatian, Polish, Serbian, Spanish) — advertising
  • Mobbing (German, Croatian, Norwegian, Polish) — bullying
  • Montgomery (Greek, Italian) — duffel coat
  • MV (Chinese, Korean) — music video
  • Oldtimer — (Dutch, German, Croatian) — vintage car (or bike or aircraft or boat)
  • Open space (French, Italian, Polish, Romanian) — Open plan office
  • Pants (Japanese パンツ) - Underwear (Although this is how the word is used in British English.)
  • Panty or panti (Dutch, Spanish) — pantyhose
  • Parking (Arabic, Croatian, French, Greek, Italian, Polish, Russian паркинг, Spanish, Swiss German, Flemish) — parking lot / car park
  • Peeling (French, Romanian, German, Russian пилинг, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish) — facial or body scrub
  • Pickup (Dutch, Greek) — turntable
  • Playback (Arabic, Croatian, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Serbian, Spanish, Turkish) — lip sync (in songs) / Lip-synching in music
  • Poker (Croatian, Hungarian, Polish, Serbian) — either the game or four of a kind
  • Pressing (French, Italian, Polish, Swiss German) — forcing (in sport)
  • Pullman (Greek, Italian) — motor coach, tour or inter-city bus, not a railway vehicle
  • Puzzle (Arabic, Croatian, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian паззл, Turkish) — jigsaw puzzle (rather than puzzle in general)
  • Reality (Croatian, Danish, Greek, Italian) — reality show
  • Recordman (French, Italian, Greek, Romanian) — record holder in sports
  • Roastbeef (Danish, German) — a cut of beef located roughly at the short loin (US) or sirloin (UK)
  • Scotch (French, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Russian скотч) a clear adhesive tape of any brand
  • Service (Korean 서비스, Japanese サービス) — free, complimentary, from 'self service'
  • Sharp pencil (Korean 샤프펜슬, Japanese シャープペンシル) — a mechanical pencil.
  • Sig (French, Italian) — sigh (in cartoons)
  • Skilift (Croatian, Italian, German) — platter lift
  • Slip (Dutch, German, French, Greek, Italian, Spanish, Turkish) — briefs
  • Smoking (Croatian, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian smoching, Russian смокинг, Swedish, Turkish, Spanish esmoquin) — a dinner jacket or tuxedo, rather than a smoking jacket in the Edwardian sense
  • Speaker (French, Italian, Polish spiker; Croatian spiker, Turkish) — announcer
  • String (Dutch, French, German, Greek, Polish, Russian стринги, Turkish) — G-string
  • Strip (Croatian, Dutch, Serbian) — comics, comic book or comic strip
  • Telefilm (Croatian, Italian) — filmed TV series
  • Ticket Restaurant (French, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese) — meal ticket or Luncheon Voucher
  • Toast (Croatian, Danish, Greek, Italian, Polish tost, Turkish) — toasted sandwich
  • Topfit (Dutch, German) — perfectly physically fit
  • Training (Hungarian tréning, Hebrew טריינינג, Romanian trening) — tracksuit
  • Trench (French, Italian) — trench coat
  • Videoclip (Arabic, Croatian, Greek, German, Italian, Polish wideoklip, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian видеоклип) — music video
  • Volley (Arabic, Danish, French, Greek, Italian) — volleyball
  • Wellness (Croatian, Hungarian) — feeling well by expensive means, especially in a chic hotel near a spa


  • ABC — American-born Chinese, also CBC = Canadian-born Chinese, BBC = British-born Chinese, etc.
  • BB call — pager
  • DM — flyer, brochure, junk mail (from "direct mail")
  • MIT — Made in Taiwan
  • VC — Vitamin C




  Filipino languages

  • Bad shot – getting on someone's bad side or making a bad impression
  • Bad trip – an unfortunate situation or "bummer" (derived from LSD culture terminology)
  • Bold movie – a movie with nude or sexually-explicit scenes
  • Chancing – a sexual advance
  • C.R. (Comfort Room) – toilet, bathroom
  • Gimmick or Gimik – a night out with friends; also, any offering during evening hours by clubs, bars and restaurants to lure customers in.
  • Slang may refer to strong foreign accents and pronunciation. Also occurs in Malay.


  • College — sweater/jumper


  • Baby-foottable football
  • Black — the English word is increasingly used in French to designate black people, the French word "noir" being considered offensive, or at least ambiguous (incidentally, the expression "travailler au noir" tends to be replaced with "travailler au black" even if this expression has no link with people's skin color)
  • Blue-jean — jeans, denims, denim (the material)
  • Box — internet access devices, following the trend of brand naming initiated with Free Telecom's "Freebox", then imitated by others (Livebox, Neufbox...)
  • Brushingblow dry
  • Building — skyscraper
  • Caddie ([kaˈdi]) — shopping trolley, refers to the brand Caddie.
  • Compost - compost heap
  • Dressing — dressing room
  • Fashion — as an adjective rather than a noun
  • FootFootball (soccer) (In Canadian French, this would refer to Canadian football, or sometimes in context to American football. Association football is le soccer[citation needed].)
  • Forcing as in faire le forcing — to pressure
  • de grand standing — high class (of property), luxury (flat, apartment)
  • JoggingTracksuit (jogging suit)
  • Just (adj.) ([dʒœst]) — 'C'était just !' = tight, as in we "just" barely made it, it was a tight squeeze.
  • Mailing (m) - direct mail advertising, email marketing (campaign)
  • Paper boardflip chart
  • People (sometimes spelt pipeuls, pipoles) — celebs, also used as adjective (ex. "Il est très people"), refers to the US magazine People
  • Planning (m) — schedule, to-do list
  • Pressingdry cleaning shop
  • Pullpullover, sweater
  • Recordman, recordwoman — record holder in sports
  • Relookingmakeover (also: relooker — give a makeover to)
  • Rugbyman — rugby player
  • Self — self-service restaurant
  • Speaker or Speakerine — announcer (radio, TV, railway etc.)
  • Sweat (m) — sweater
  • Tennisman — tennis player
  • Top (adj.) — brilliant, great
  • Warning(s) (m) - (car) hazard-lights
  • Zapping (m) - (TV) channel-surfing, channel-hopping
  • Zoning — industrial estate


Many of the following examples may be found in several words (Fun Sport), hyphenated (Fun-Sport), in one word (Funsport) or CamelCase (FunSport).

  • Body-Bag — a type of Messenger Bag. The bag which is slung across the midriff in English is called cross-body bag. In Germany, the term Body Bag was after its invention a registered trademark.[2]
  • Box — High fidelity loudspeaker; Pit in motor sports
  • Castingshow — talent search television series
  • DJane - female disk jokey
  • Dressman — male model
  • Drive In — drive-thru restaurant
  • Ego-Shooter — first-person shooter (derived from Latin "Ego" = "I")
  • (to do) Fitness — workout in a gym
  • Fitness Studio — gym
  • Funsport — a sport primarily practised in leisure time and for fun without organized competitions or rules, especially when it is risky, extravagant, modern and suitable to express an independent young lifestyle, e.g. Free climbing, Snowboarding or Surfing
  • Handy — mobile phone
  • Highboard — a table-high cupboard
  • Horrortripbad trip
  • Inboard-Kamera — onboard camera
  • Inliner — inline skates (shoes)
  • Kickertable football ("foosball" in American English, a variation on the German word "Fußball" (football))
  • Leader(innen)board — provisional ranking; in English leader board is only used in professional golf
  • Leader(s)box — Platform or site, where the provisional leader(s) of a current event is displayed to the public; in English leader's box stands for a collection of important rules and statements of a Christian sect, e.g. the United Church of Christ
  • Lifting — taking the ski lift uphill. Common term in Kühtai region in Austria
  • Logical — riddle/puzzle to be solved by logical thought (German Wikipedia)
  • Longseller — long-term (best)seller (German Wikipedia)
  • Lowrider — a pair of luggage carrier, which are fixed at both sides of a bicycles frontwheel near its axis (German Wikipedia)
  • Messie — a "pack rat", a person engaging in compulsive hoarding
  • Musicbox — jukebox
  • Oldtimer — primarily a classic car, secondary all vintage vehicles
  • Pocketbook — paperback (derived from the German "Taschenbuch", "Tasche" = pocket, "Buch" = book )
  • Public Viewing — outdoor screening
  • Pullunder, often Pollunder or Polunder — sweater vest
  • Punky — a punk
  • Rowdy — thug, hooligan
  • Shootingstar — successful newcomer (sports, music, literature, business, politics...)
  • Shorty — shorts
  • Slipper — lace-less shoes
  • Showmaster — show host
  • Talkmaster — talk show host
  • Training — without any specification it means to workout in a gym, synonym to do Fitness or Training; with a (implicitly) given specification it means exercising under practicing conditions even if the results of this have consequences for a following competition, e.g. Qualifikationstraining means Qualifying Session or Balltraining means exercises with a ball
  • Trainings- — in compound terms such as Trainingsanzug, -hose, and -jacke for tracksuit, -trousers, and -top
  • Twen — a person in his or her twenties, or the time period of one's twenties
  • Wellness — A holistic sense of mental and physical wellbeing.




  Israeli Hebrew

  • Back-Axe (בק-אקס) - rear axle
  • Coacher (קואוצ'ר) - practitioner of life-coaching, a coach.
  • Front Back-Axe (פרונט בק-אקס) - front axle
  • Golf (גולף) — turtleneck sweater/jersey
  • Nylon (ניילון) - any form of flexible plastic
  • Patent (patent פטנט) - an improvisation/innovation
  • Puncture (פנצ'ר) - any mishap causing a delay
  • Talkback (tokbek טוקבק) - A comment on a blog or a internet news site

(Puncture is used metaphorically for mishaps, so probably should be removed from this list)



  • Desk (デスク desuku?) — title for a person in office
  • Famicon (ファミコン famikon?)video game, portmanteau of "family" and "computer"
  • Love hotel (ラブホテル rabuhoteru?) — a type of short-stay hotel
  • OL or Office Lady (オフィスレディー ofisuredī?) — a female office worker
  • Lolicon (ロリコン rorikon?) - paedophile, portmanteau of "lolita" and "complex"
  • Mansion (マンション manshon?) — a condominium apartment
  • Smart (スマート sumaato?) — slim or skinny
  • Style (スタイル sutairu?) — a woman's figure (particularly if slim or skinny)


  • Apart (아파트) — this word is used to mean not only individual suites, but "apartment building" or "apartment complex"[3]
  • Fighting (파이팅) — a Korean cheer that can roughly be translated as "Victory!" but can also be used as a word of encouragement (a la "Courage!")[4][5]
  • Note (노트) - a notebook
  • Officetel (오피스텔) — this word is a portmanteau of "office" and "hotel" and means office and hotel combined
  • One room (원룸) — a bachelor-style studio apartment
  • One shot (원샷) — a form of toast, roughly equivalent to "bottoms up". It challenges the drinker to finish his drink in one gulp[6]
  • Skin scuba (스킨스쿠버) — scuba-diving


  • Dress (dres, dresy) — tracksuit;[7] sometimes also chav(s) (short for dresiarz)


  • Agroboy — (Brazilian Portuguese) A non-urban Brazilian playboy or yuppie, generally with its wealth earned by agricultural businesses
  • Cooper — To jog
  • Fashion — (Brazilian Portuguese) Slang for a cool fashion style. Used mainly in relation to female fashion styles (or that of males in a jocose way). Example: Ela está muito fashion agora! (meaning "she is so cool now [with this makeover]!")
  • Funk — A musical genre from Rio de Janeiro, local spin-off from Miami Bass, completely unrelated to American funk music
  • Hipster — (Brazilian Portuguese) Slang for either the correct English usage (scenesters of underground and indie music scenes) or contemporary hippies
  • Night — (Brazilian Portuguese) Actually referring to nightlife, particularly dating
  • Novo look — a makeover (hair, clothing, makeup, etc.)
  • Open House — Housewarming party
  • OutdoorBillboard, using the English adjective as a noun
  • Playboy — (Brazilian Portuguese) While in first it had the same usage as in English, from the 1990s to the 2010s it changed its meaning to a local version of yuppie. Stereotypes of the Brazilian playboys include being classist, womanizer and sexist, at least way more than their yuppie counterparts from more developed nations, which in turn is result of social anxieties of the poor and the lower middle class against the upper middle and upper classes, or being great seekers of social status and influence. They also, contrary to yuppies, do not fashionize intellectuality, and can or can not be socially liberal (social divisions between liberals and conservatives, specially in the upper classes, makes much less sense in Brazil)
  • ShoppingShopping mall, using the English gerund as a noun
  • ShowConcert, particularly a pop music concert ("concerto" is used mainly for classical music, nevertheless it is the standard usage in European Portuguese for all kinds of concert and also used in Brazilian Portuguese by language purists)
  • Style — (Brazilian Portuguese) Slang for someone whose fashion, or for the said fashion in itself, is deemed as innovative, cool or unique. Example: Deborah e Giovanni ficam tão style de calças skinny, óculos escuros e franja! (meaning "Deborah and Giovanni became so cool wearing skinny jeans and dark glasses, and cutting the hair in bangs!")
  • TuningCar tuning
  • Videogame — (Brazilian Portuguese) Game console, although the term "console" is also used, the videogames themselves are simply called "games", "jogos" (the standard translation for "game") or less ambiguously "jogos de videogame" (console games)


  • Recordman — record holder in sports (feminine is recordmană)
  • Tenisman — tennis player (feminine is tenismană)


  • Clip (клип) — music video;
  • Face control (фейс-контроль) — checking whether a person looks appropriate (a common practice at Russian night clubs);
  • Creative (креатив) — inventiveness, creativity, the results of creative work;
  • Player (плеер, плейер) — portable media player;
  • Safing (сейфинг) — providing safe deposit boxes;
  • Shop tour (шоп-тур) — an organized tour to a foreign country for shopping.


  • Drugstore (Dragstor) - a corner store that is open in evenings or overnight. They do not offer pharmacy services.
  • Goalman (Golman) - Goalkeeper
  • InsertMovie clip
  • Recorder (Rekorder) – record holder (in sports)
  • SpotMusic video


  • Bistec - beef steak
  • Body – bodice
  • Full — very
  • Heavy — slang term for that means awesome, excellent, great, etc. This word is used in the same way English speakers use the slang term "Cool". It also means "metalhead". Most likely form British slang word 'Heavy' meaning 'Cool'
  • Inbox — email message
  • Nuevo look — a makeover (hair, clothing, makeup etc.)
  • Planning — plan, program
  • Play, Hipermegaplay (in Colombia) — Used in the same way American English speakers would use the slang term "Cool"
  • Puenting (from puente, bridge) — a sport that involves jumping from a bridge. It is similar to bungee jumping except for the fact that the cord is non-elastic and that the jump ends in a pendulum-like movement.
  • Round Point (in Colombian Spanish) — Roundabout
  • Snow — an abbreviation for "snowboard" as sport. The board is called tabla de snow
  • Web — website


  • Body - an undershirt for females
  • Dollargrin - 1950s American car with a huge glittering front grill.
  • Fiction - used for the literary category only. Fiction in a general sense is fiktion or påhitt.
  • Hockey - Icehockey (other varieties of hockey are virtually unknown in Sweden).
  • Pocketbok - paperback book (mix of English and Swedish spelling)
  • Walkman (as in a small portable cassette player) is usually replaced with "freestyle", despite the fact that the word does not fit particularly well with Swedish phonotactics or grammar. Actually, Freestyle was the name chosen for marketing purposes in Sweden.
  • Wrestling refers only to the staged wrestling shows on TV. The genuine sport is called brottning.


  • Check-bin - A combination of the US English "check" and the British English "bill" (adapted to Thai pronunciation), meaning the bill presented in a restaurant or bar.
  • Hi-so - High Society describing someone who insists on designer labels



  • Camera (ca mê ra) - camcorder
  • Dollar (đô la) - explicitly US dollar
  • Film (phim) - refers to both movies and soap opera
  • Photo (phô tô) - photocopy
  • Remote (rờ mốt) - remote control - remote is a common term in Australian English
  • Sex (sét) - wearing revealing clothes that make the wearer appear lustful
  • Style (xì tin) - appearing teenage, active, playful and modern
  • Vest (vét) - Western suit in clothing
  • Coca (cô ca) - Coca-Cola


  • cherry lights (טשערי לייץ) - red headlights
  • payday (פּיידיי) - salary/payment

  See also


  1. ^ According to linguist Ghil'ad Zuckermann, this pseudo-anglicism might have "been influenced by Italian fili ‘threads’ (plural of Italian filo ‘thread’.[citation needed]) Italian feeling is used in Italian pop music, for example in the song Pensami per te (‘Think about me for your sake’) (by Cogliati/Ciani/Cassano), sung by Anna Oxa, which includes Tra di noi c’é uno strano feeling che ci lega ormai ‘Between us there is a strange feeling that binds us by now’."See p. 102 of Zuckermann, Ghil'ad 2003, ‘‘Language Contact and Lexical Enrichment in Israeli Hebrew’’, Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, (Palgrave Studies in Language History and Language Change, Series editor: Charles Jones). ISBN 1-4039-1723-X.
  2. ^ The trademark Body-Bag was abondoned on 1. Dec. 2009, because the term became the general name for all kinds of cross-body bags.
  3. ^ Desa Philadelphia (26 November 2001). "Local English". Time. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1001311,00.html. Retrieved 2 August 2009. 
  4. ^ Kim Hyo-jin (10 June 2002). "English? Konglish? Purists concede to 'fighting' cheer". JoongAng Daily. http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=1904723. Retrieved 2 August 2009. 
  5. ^ "Korea Fighting!". JoongAng Daily. 18 June 2006. http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2738897. Retrieved 2 August 2009. 
  6. ^ "외국어 공식 포탈 - e4u.com". E4u.ybmsisa.com. http://e4u.ybmsisa.com/EngPlaza/hotWord.asp?idx=1447&page=7. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  7. ^ "dres" (in Polish). Słownik wyrazów obcych. Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN. http://swo.pwn.pl/haslo.php?id=6162. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 


  External links



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