AskDefine | Define anglicism

Dictionary Definition



1 an expression that is limited to English as spoken by Englishmen (especially as contrasted with American English) [syn: Briticism, Britishism]
2 a custom that is peculiar to England or its citizens [syn: Britishism]

User Contributed Dictionary



See anglicise, anglicize.


  • /ˈæŋgləˌsɪzəm/


  1. A part of speech of English language origin that has been borrowed by another language.
  2. A cultural aspect typical of the English people.


part of speech
  • Croatian: anglicizam, anglizam
  • German: Anglizismus
  • Portuguese: angliscismo
  • Swedish: anglicism
cultural aspect
  • Portuguese: anglicismo




Extensive Definition

An anglicism, as most often defined, is a word borrowed from English into another language. Speakers of the recipient language usually consider an anglicism to be substandard or undesirable (as a form of language contamination). "Anglicism" also describes English syntax, grammar, meaning and structure used in another language with varying degrees of corruption.

Anglicisms in Chinese

''Note: Chinglish refers to poor or broken English used by native Chinese speakers, while Anglicisms in Chinese refers to appropriation of English terms, expressions, or concepts into Chinese language. These two concepts should not be confused.''
  • Example of Anglicism by phonetic borrowing: use of expression "巴士(bāshì)" (instead of "公共汽車") for "bus" because of similarity in pronunciations.
  • Syntactic Anglicism: occurs when a sentence is rendered following the English word order instead of Chinese word order.
  • Semantic Anglicism: example, "網絡" or "網路"(network) , "網" used to translate "net".

Anglicisms in Dutch

See Dunglish

Anglicisms in Afrikaans

See Anglisaans (content in Afrikaans)

Anglicisms in French

A distinction is made between well-established English borrowings into French, and other words and structures regarded as incorrect.
Occasionally governments of both Quebec and France have undertaken strenuous efforts to eradicate anglicisms, with some success, although in modern times there has been a more relaxed attitude. Sometimes a new word is coined in French that succeeds in replacing the anglicism — for instance, logiciel ("software"). French efforts against anglicisms are admired by many other countries suffering from overuse of anglicisms.
However, the French Academy's directives are not always considered very appropriate; for instance, it has decreed that "online chat" be replaced by causette or parlotte, but these are terms for "chat" that are not commonly used. (In Quebec a different solution has been found to translate "online chat." The word clavardage is increasingly gaining acceptance. This neologism is a portmanteau word coined from the words clavier (English keyboard) and bavardage (English chat).)
Quebec French and European French tend to have entirely different anglicisms for historical reasons. Quebec French acquired its anglicisms in a gradual process of linguistic borrowing resulting from living among and alongside English speakers for two and a half centuries since the Battle of the Plains of Abraham of 1759. European French, on the other hand, mostly adopted its anglicisms in recent decades due to the post–Second World War international dominance of English. Furthermore, the use of English words is more socially deprecated and less a mark of "coolness" in Quebec than in France. Thus, the people of Quebec and France often consider each other's anglicisms as barbarous, while considering their own perfectly normal.
An example of a European French anglicism not used in Quebec:
sweat: short for sweatshirt, but pronounced like the English word "sweet"
An example of a Quebec French anglicism not used in France;
frencher: to French kiss
As can be seen above, sometimes an anglicism will have a different meaning from the original English word, due to abbreviation or other reasons.
Another type of anglicism is a phrase or structure that is literally translated or calqued from the English. For example, the valediction Sincèrement vôtre is regarded as an anglicism, a direct translation of the English Sincerely yours, when a native French valediction would be more appropriate.
Because English itself borrowed a great amount of French vocabulary after the Norman Conquest, some anglicisms are actually Old French words that dropped from usage over the centuries in French itself but were preserved in English, and have now come full circle back into French. For instance one attested origin of the verb to flirt cites influence from old French conter fleurette, which means "to (try to) seduce" (Most authorities cite other possible origins for the word including alt. of Eng. flit, E. Frisian flirt - a flick or light stroke, and E.Frisian flirtje - a giddy girl for the English noun flirt). This expression is no longer used in French, but the English "gallicism" to flirt has made its way back over the Channel and has now become an anglicism in French.
Sometimes an expression incorrectly translated from the English becomes more successful than the original one. For instance, a tax heaven comes from an incorrect translation of tax haven by French speakers who mixed up haven and heaven. So they spoke about a paradis fiscal, an expression that inspired the English-speaking people who retranslated it into tax heaven.
Note, some words were borrowed from English into French centuries ago, such as clown (pronounced "kloon") or spleen (in French the latter means "melancholy", and not the "spleen" organ). These are not anglicisms, but rather are considered perfectly good French words fully accepted by the Académie française. Perhaps the only difference between an anglicism and a full-fledged French word is the test of time.

Anglicisms in German

See Denglisch

Anglicisms in Italian

Under Benito Mussolini efforts were made to "purify" Italian of anglicisms and other foreign "contaminants". Today, Italy is the country in Europe where anglicism are most used, without alterations.

Anglicisms in Spanish

The hispanisation of English words is infrequent.
In Spain, the adoption of English words is extremely common in the spheres of business and information technology, although it is usually frowned upon by purists

Anglicisms in Finnish

See also (American) Finglish
The anglicisms can be divided to four types: direct phonetic imitation, lexical and grammatical calques, and contamination of orthography. Official language (as given by the Language Planning Office) deprecates anglicisms, and for the most part, native constructions are sufficient even in spoken language. Nevertheless, some anglicisms creep in.
Computer jargon is generally full of direct imitation, e.g. svappi "swap". Other jargons with abundant anglicisms are pop music, scifi, gaming, fashion, automobile and to some extent scientific jargon. This is regarded a sign of overspecialization, if used outside the context of the jargon. Generally, direct imitation is not as common, but there are examples. For example, the word sexy [seksy], pronounced with an Y unlike in English [seksi], might be used as an adjective. This is teenager-specific.
Lexical calques take an English expression, like killer application, and produce tappajasovellus, which does mean "an application that kills" just as in English. You will need to know the equivalent English term to understand this.
Some speakers, especially those in frequent contact with the English language have created a grammatical calque of the English you-impersonal. The English impersonal utilizes the second person pronoun you, e.g. You can't live if you don't eat. Here, the word you does not refer explicitly to the listener, but signifies a general statement. The same example is rendered in Finnish as Syömättä ei elä, where a separate grammatical impersonal (also known as passiivi) is used. When translated word-by-word, Sä et elä jos sä et syö, it will refer directly to the listener. Here the contraction sä of spoken language is used instead of the sinä of spoken language. Then, you will need to understand that it is an anglicism, or you can be offended by the commanding "You there!" tone produced. (There are also native examples of the same construction, so the origin of this piece of grammar may not always be English.)
An English orthographical convention is that compound words are written separately, whereas in Finnish, compound words are written together, using a hyphen with acronyms and numbers. In Finnish, prosessitekniikka and Intel 80286 -prosessori would be correct, but process engineering or Intel 80286 processor would not. Failure to join the words or omitting the hyphen can be either an honest mistake, or contamination from English.
Another orthographical convention is that English words tend to be written as the originals. For example, the computer jargon term from to chat is written as chattailla (chat + frequentative), even if it is pronounced sättäillä. The forms chattäillä or chättäillä are used, too. Sometimes, it is even standard language, e.g. sherry [ʃerry], instead of according to English pronunciation šeri [ʃeri].

Other definitions

In the context of Interlingua, an anglicism is a uniquely English expression used when speaking or writing Interlingua. Many English expressions have penetrated into a wide variety of languages, making them good Interlingua expressions. Novice speakers sometimes assume that an English expression is correct Interlingua when in fact it is not sufficiently international. For example, a novice may use Lassa nos considerar le optiones to mean 'Let's consider the options', as in English. In Interlingua, however, this expression means 'Permit us to consider the options'. A more international expression is Que nos considera le optiones, literally 'That we consider the options'.

Briticisms, Americanisms and other -isms

A Briticism is an expression peculiar to British English, from an outsider's point-of-view. The term "Briticism" is an Americanism.
An Americanism is an expression peculiar to American or North American English, from an outsider's point of view.
There is an article discussing American and British English differences, and for English worldwide look at the English Language entry.
The influence of Australian television has also introduced some Australianisms to English speech elsewhere.
anglicism in Asturian: Anglicismu
anglicism in Danish: Anglicisme
anglicism in German: Anglizismus
anglicism in Spanish: Anglicismo
anglicism in Basque: Anglizismo
anglicism in French: Anglicisme
anglicism in Galician: Anglicismo
anglicism in Croatian: Anglizam
anglicism in Italian: Anglicismo
anglicism in Hebrew: אינגלוז
anglicism in Luxembourgish: Anglizismus
anglicism in Lithuanian: Anglicizmas
anglicism in Dutch: Anglicisme
anglicism in Norwegian: Anglisisme
anglicism in Polish: Anglicyzm
anglicism in Portuguese: Anglicismo
anglicism in Russian: Англицизм
anglicism in Finnish: Anglismi
anglicism in Swedish: Anglicism

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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