The origin of Foreign words used in English

What a fun book! Thanks to FSB Associates for giving me this fun book to review! We are a homeschool family so this has been a big hit with my kids.  One of my daughters took the book along and read it during a car trip!

Here is information from the FSB Associates: 

Carpe Diem and Become a Word Connoisseur!

English is filled with a smorgasbord of foreign words and phrases that have entered our language from many sources -- some from as far back as the Celts. A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi," which tells the story of how many of these expressions came to be commonly used in English, will both amaze and amuse language lovers everywhere. You'll be fascinated to learn, for instance, that . . .

  • ketchup began life as a spicy pickled fish sauce called koechiap in seventeenth-century China?
  • honcho came from the Japanese world hancho, which means squad chief? The world was brought to the United States something during the 1940s by soldiers who had served in Japan.
  • dungarees comes from the Hindi word dungri, the thick cotton cloth used for sails and tents in India?
Organized alphabetically for easy reference, A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi" tells the little-known origin of some of these thousands of foreign words and phrases -- from aficionado to zeitgeist. Inside, you'll find translations, definitions, origins, and lively descriptions of each item's evolution into our everyday discourse. With this whimsical little book, you'll be ready to throw out a foreign word or phrase at your next party, lending your conversation with, well, a certain je ne sais quoi.

My take on the book: 

 What a fun book! My daughters are taking Latin.  They are building a magnificent vocabulary! This book has been a fun addition to our growing vocabulary! I ask where do you think this book originates and its meaning. Here is what we said and the words origins that we have discovered thus far:
 1) Chop Suey- My daughter said that she thought the word was Chinese and that the Chinese would eat thier soup with chop sticks, calling it Chop Suey.  According to the book, Chinese means "tsap sui" or bits and pieces. It is widely believe that this was invented in America by Chinese immigrants.  It is said though, that it originated in Taishan. In America, though, it is a dish made up of bits and pieces or mixed pieces.

2) Hamburger- My daughter said that she thinks hamburger means cow in French.  According to the book, Hamburger is a person from Hamburg (Germany).  In 19th-century Hamburg, Germany, they pounded beef patties called Hamburg steak.  Emigrants going to America took this with them and "hamburger" appeared on menus as early as 1836.
 3) Ketchup- When asked, ketchup was thought to have originated in French for "using tomatoes".  According to the book, it means fish brine from Malay as "kichap".   This popular condiment began as a spicy pickled fish sauce in the 17th-century China ("koechiap").  American seamen added tomatoes to help with scurvy.  In 1876 John Heinz launched his version of tomato ketchup. It is a table and restaurant staple in British and American diets.

Don't forget to pick up this book! It is a great conversation starter, too! 
The words expressed in MY TAKE OF THE BOOK are my own tasty words! Thanks FSB Associates for the book to review.


  1. I love this, definitely look's like a book I'd be interested in. >_<

  2. Thanks for the tip, this book sounds as if it were super interesting!
    It also seems to be a good read for people that are into trivia.


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