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 portmanteau 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

  • Aircon (Korean 에어컨, Japanese エアコン) - air conditioner
  • 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 автостоп, Turkish) — hitchhiking
  • Ball Pen (Korean 볼펜, Japanese ボールペン) — ball point pen
  • Basket (Arabic, 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
  • Body (for dancing) (Italian, Romanian) — leotard
  • Body (for infants) (Italian, French, 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, 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, German) - 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, Serbian) — a store
  • Feeling (Italian, French) — personal chemistry, common bond [1]
  • Fitness (Croatian, 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) — pinball machine
  • Footing (French, Italian, Spanish) — jogging
  • Fotoshooting (German, Romanian) — photo session
  • Fotoshop (Croatian), 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 (Croatian, Dutch, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Korean 해피엔드 , Japanese ハッピーエンド, Polish, Romanian, Russian хэппи-энд) — happy ending
  • Hometrainer (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, Russian киллер) — hitman, contract killer
  • K-Way (Italian, French) — Windbreaker
  • Lifting (Croatian, French, Greek, Italian, 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 (French, Romanian, Flemish) — living room
  • Luna park (Greek, Italian, Turkish) — funfair
  • Mail (Croatian, French, Norwegian) — electronic mail or e-mail
  • Marketing (Arbic, Croatian, Serbian) — advertising
  • Mobbing (German, Croatian) — 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, 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 (Romanian, Russian пилинг, Spanish) — facial or body scrub
  • Pickup (Dutch, Greek) — turntable
  • Playback (Arabic, Croatian, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Romanian, Serbian, Spanish, Turkish) — lip sync (in songs) / Lip-synching in music
  • Poker (Croatian, Hungarian, Serbian) — either the game or four of a kind
  • Pressing (Italian, 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, Romanian, Russian паззл, Turkish) — jigsaw puzzle (rather than puzzle in general)
  • Reality (Croatian, Greek, Italian) — reality show
  • Recordman (French, Italian, Greek, Romanian) — record holder in sports
  • 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.
  • Skilift (Croatian, Italian) — platter lift
  • Slip (Dutch, 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; 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) — meal ticket or Luncheon Voucher
  • Toast (Croatian, Greek, Italian, Turkish) — toasted sandwich
  • Topfit (Dutch, German) — perfectly physically fit
  • Training (Hungarian tréning, Hebrew טריינינג, Romanian trening) — tracksuit
  • Transistor (Greek), tranzistor (Croatian) — portable radio
  • Trench (French, Italian) — trench coat
  • Videoclip (Arabic, Croatian, Greek, Romanian) — music video
  • Volley (Arabic, 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


  • Biftek - beef steak
  • BodyBodysuit
  • Dres — sports uniform, kit


  • Babylift ([beɪ̯bilifd]) — baby transport/carrycot
  • Butterfly — a bow tie
  • Timemanager — a calendar or notebook in which you write down appointments (from the registered trademark Time Manager)


  • Airco - air conditioning
  • Bandrecordertape recorder
  • Boiler - a water heater and not a central heating boiler
  • Coffeeshop — a store selling cannabis (or, colloquially, other psychedelic drugs)
  • Dumpstore — an army surplus store
  • Fitness (also in many other European languages) — fitness training as a kind of gymnastics; also, a place for fitness training
  • Junk — a drug addict (in English that would be Junkie)
  • (Koffie)pad(coffee) pod
  • "Living" (in Flemish Dutch) — living room
  • Loverboy — a pimp who grooms (often very young) women to fall in love with him, in order to force them into prostitution.
  • Occasionbargain (especially a car sold at a favourable price), or even: second-hand car. Originally a French loanword with the meaning of "bargain" and pronounced as in French, it is now often pronounced as in English
  • Pocketpaperback book
  • Sheetstransparencies or computer presentation slides
  • Songtextlyrics
  • Touringcar — refers to a Coach (vehicle) and not a Touring car, which is both an automobile body shape and classification of racing car.

Filipino languages

  • Bad shot – To get on someone's bad side or to make a bad impression.
  • Bad trip – An unfortunate situation. May mean "bummer".
  • Bold – May refer to nudity
  • Bold movie – A movie with nude or sexually-explicit scenes
  • Chancing – To make 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
  • Basketssports shoes
  • 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...)
  • Brushing — blow dry
  • Building - large office block
  • Caddie ([kaˈdi]) — shopping trolley, refers to the brand Caddie.
  • 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
  • Sig (in cartoons) — sigh
  • Speaker or Speakerine — announcer (radio, TV, railway etc.)
  • Sweat — sweater
  • Tennisman — tennis player
  • Top (adj.) — brilliant, great
  • Warning(s) (m) - (car) hazard-lights
  • Zapping (m) - (TV) channel-surfing, channel-hopping
  • Zoning — industrial estate


  • Black Music (also in French) — music in the hip-hop/rap genre
  • Body Bag — shoulder bag. The bag which is slung across the midriff in English is called cross-body bag. In Germany, Body Bag is a registered trademark.
  • Box — High fidelity loudspeaker
  • Castingshow — talent search television series
  • Cornflakes — any breakfast cereal
  • Chatten — form of communication over an online chat
  • Dressman — male model
  • Drive In — drive-thru restaurant
  • Ego-Shooter — first-person shooter (derived from Latin "Ego" = "I")
  • Funeralmaster — undertaker.[2]
  • Funsport — a sport primarily practised in leisure time and for fun
  • Handy — mobile phone
  • Highboard — a table-high cupboard
  • Homepage — website
  • 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 and for a collection of important rules and statements of a Christian sect[citation needed]
  • Lifting — taking the ski lift uphill. Common term in Kühtai region in Austria
  • Logical — riddle/puzzle to be solved by logical thought
  • Longseller — long-term (best)seller
  • Messie — a "pack rat", a person engaging in compulsive hoarding
  • Musicbox — jukebox
  • Oldtimer — vintage car
  • Pocketbook — paperback
  • Public Viewing — showing of football matches on giant screens in public[3]
  • Pullunder, often Pollunder or Polunder — sweater vest
  • Punky — a punk
  • Roastbeef - a cut of beef located roughly at the short loin (US) or sirloin (UK)
  • Rowdy — thug, hooligan
  • Shootingstar — successful newcomer (sports, music, literature, business, politics...)
  • Shorty — shorts
  • Slipper — lace-less shoes
  • Showmaster — show host
  • Talkmaster — talk show host
  • 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




  • Tip-Ex - correction pen

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
  • Sneakers (סניקרס) - refers only to three-striped sports shoes, not to all sneakers
  • Talkback (tokbek טוקבק) - A comment on a blog or a internet news site


  • Autogrill ([ˈaʊtoɡrɪl]) — motorway snack bar (used for any brand, not only for Autogrill chain)
  • Baby killer — juvenile murderer
  • Barcafé (the English "bar" is called "pub" in Italy)
  • Beauty case or Beauty — vanity bag
  • Body rentaltemporary staffing firm
  • Box (in motorsports) — place on a race track where pit stops are conducted
  • Box doccia — shower cubicle
  • Cargocargo boat
  • Charleston (instrument) — Hi-hat
  • Customcustom motorcycle
  • Fiction — TV miniseries
  • Golfsweater/jumper
  • Hostess — female flight attendant, stewardess
  • Mister (in football) — coach
  • Nightnightclub
  • Sexy shopsex shop
  • Stage (Italian pronunciation: [staʒ] from French stage "internship", but also [steidʒ] via erroneous connection to the English stage) — internship
  • Ticket — cost associated to a service provided by national health care system
  • Tight — morning suit
  • Trolley — trolley case
  • Tutor or Safety tutorSPECS (speed camera)
  • Water ([ˈvater]) — water closet


  • 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 ofuisuredei?) — 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"[4]
  • 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!")[5][6]
  • 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[7]
  • Skin scuba (스킨스쿠버) — scuba-diving



  • Cooper — To jog
  • Funk — A style of music from Rio de Janeiro, completely unrelated to American funk music
  • Night — (Brazilian Portugese) Nightlife, particularly meeting members of the opposite sex
  • OutdoorBillboard, using the English adjective as a noun
  • ShoppingShopping mall, using the English gerund as a noun
  • ShowConcert, particularly a popular-music concert ("concerto" is used mainly for classical music")
  • 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)


  • Biker (байкер) — a member of a Motorcycle club rather than merely a motorcyclist
  • Clipmaker (клипмейкер) — music video director
  • Face control (фейс-контроль) — checking whether a person looks appropriate (a common practice at Russian night clubs)
  • Killer (киллер) — a hitman or assassin
  • Kreativ (креатив) — inventiveness, creativity; the results of creative work
  • Player (плеер, плейер) - Walkman
  • 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
  • Insert — Movie clip
  • Recorder (Rekorder) – record holder (in sports)
  • SpotMusic video


  • Bistec - beef steak
  • Body – bodice
  • Boxer — boxer shorts
  • 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
  • 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 Colombia) — Roundabout
  • Snow — an abbreviation for "snowboard" as sport. The board is called tabla de snow
  • Web — website


  • 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.


  • 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


  • cherry lights red headlights
  • payday salary/payment


  • James Stanlaw 2004, Japanese English: Language And The Culture Contact, Hong Kong University Press.
  • Laura Miller 1997, "Wasei eigo: English ‘loanwords' coined in Japan" in The Life of Language: Papers in Linguistics in Honor of William Bright, edited by Jane Hill, P.J. Mistry and Lyle Campbell, Mouton/De Gruyter: The Hague, pp. 123–139.
  • Geoff Parkes and Alan Cornell 1992, 'NTC's Dictionary of German False Cognates', National Textbook Company, NTC Publishing Group.
  • Ghil'ad Zuckermann 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.

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. ^ Official press information of the Federation of German Undertakers/header
  3. ^ "Public Viewing". Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  4. ^ Desa Philadelphia (26 November 2001). "Local English". Time.,9171,1001311,00.html. Retrieved 2 August 2009. 
  5. ^ Kim Hyo-jin (10 June 2002). "English? Konglish? Purists concede to 'fighting' cheer". JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2 August 2009. 
  6. ^ "Korea Fighting!". JoongAng Daily. 18 June 2006. Retrieved 2 August 2009. 
  7. ^

External links

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