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A pseudo-anglicism is a word in another language that is formed from English elements and may appear to be English, but that does not exist as an English word.[1][2][3]

For example, English speakers traveling in France may be struck by the number of words used in French that look similar to English, but which don't exist in English, such as rallye-paper, shake-hand, baby-foot, or baby-parc.[4]

Definition and terminology[edit]

There have been a few spellings, and many definitions proposed for pseudo-anglicism. Sometimes it is written as two words, sometimes as a hyphenated word, and sometimes as a single word without the hyphen. The 'A' is sometimes capitalized. Several other terms have been used, such as "secondary anglicism,"[5] "false anglicism,"[6] and "pseudo-English" is heard as well.[7]

In discussing lexical borrowing (and also translation), academic works will often refer to source language or donor language, and the receptor language or recipient language and may use SL and RL as abbreviations. In the case of anglicisms and loanwords from English, the source language is English, and the receptor language is the foreign language borrowing the English word or semantic elements.[8] Some German works even refer to these concepts using the English terms, untranslated.[9]

Numerous definitions have been proposed. Many researchers quote David Duckworth, who wrote that pseudo-anglicisms are "German neologisms derived from English language material."[8][10]

Typology and mechanism[edit]

Pseudo-anglicisms can be created in various ways, such as by archaism, i.e., words which once had that meaning in English but are since abandoned; semantic slide, where an English word is used incorrectly to mean something else; conversion of existing words from one part of speech to another; or recombinations by reshuffling English units.[11]

Onysko speaks of two types: pseudo-anglicisms and hybrid anglicisms. The common factor is that each type represents a neologism in the receptor language resulting from a combination of borrowed lexical items from English. Using German as the receptor language, an example of the first type is Wellfit-Bar, a combination of two English lexical units to form a new term in German, which does not exist in English, and which carries the meaning, "a bar that caters to the needs of health-starved people." An example of the second type, is a hybrid based on a German compound word, de:wikt:Weitsprung (long jump), plus the English 'coach', to create the new German word Weitsprung-Coach.[8]

According to Filipović, pseudoanglicisms can be formed through composition, derivation, or ellipsis. Composition in Serbo-Croatian involves creating a new compound from an English word to which is added the word man, as in the example, "GOAL" + man, giving golman. In derivation, a suffix -er or -ist is added to an anglicism, to create a new word in Serbo-Croatian, such as teniser, or waterpolist. An ellipsis drops something, and starts from a compound and drops a component, or from a derivative and drops -ing, as in boks from "boxing", or "hepiend" from "happy ending".[12]

Another process of word formation that can result in a pseudo-anglicism is a blend word, consisting of portions of two words, like brunch or smog. Rey-Debove & Gagnon attest tansad in French in 1919, from English tan[dem] + sad[dle]].[13]


Pseudo-anglicisms can be found in many languages that have contact with English around the world, and are attested in nearly all European languages.[14]


CJK languages[edit]



  • High touch (ハイタッチ, haitatchi) - high five
  • Love hotel (ラブホテル, rabu hoteru) – a type of short-stay hotel
  • Lolicon (ロリコン, rorikon) – pedophile (adjective), portmanteau of "Lolita" and "complex"
  • New-half (ニューハーフ, nyūhāfu) – a transgender or transsexual woman
  • OL or Office Lady (オフィスレディー, ofisu redī) – a female office worker
  • Salaryman (サラリーマン, sararīman) – a white collar employee (salaried worker)


  • Apart (아파트 apateu) – this word is used to mean not only individual suites, but "apartment building" or "apartment complex"[15]
  • Fighting (화이팅 hwaiting or 파이팅 paiting) – a Korean cheer that can roughly be translated as "Victory!" but can also be used as a word of encouragement (a la "Courage!")[16][17]
  • Note (노트 noteu) – a notebook
  • Officetel (오피스텔 opiseutel) – this word is a portmanteau of "office" and "hotel" and means office and hotel combined
  • One room (원룸 wonlum) – a bachelor-style studio apartment
  • One shot (원샷 wonsyas) – a form of toast, roughly equivalent to "bottoms up". It challenges the drinker to finish his drink in one gulp[18]
  • Skin scuba (스킨스쿠버 seukinseukubeo) – scuba diving



  • College – sweater/jumper






Except when the English pronunciation is obviously indicated by widely known spelling rules, such as "ee", "ay", "oo", "ou" and "a+consonant+e" standing for [i], [eɪ], [u], [aʊ], and [eɪC] (this one only in Portugal; Brazilians will pronounce the vowels near-correctly but the consonants always in the way they would pronounce them in Portuguese), instead of the expected [ej], [aj], [ow], [ow], [aCi ~ aCɨ] (non-nasal consonant) and [ɜ̃Ci ~ ɐCɨ] (nasal), all Lusophone Latin Americans and Africans and most Portuguese and Macanese will invariably use spelling pronunciations for pseudo-anglicisms as those that know proper English pronunciation and spelling rules would naturally be expected to know that those words are not real English, so that soda and tuning come out as [ˈsɔðɐ] (roughly like "sawtha" or "soth-a") and [ˈtũɲĩ] (roughly like "toonyeen'"), much as English-like filler (used mainly in Brazil, in the context of anime episodes not derived from the storyline of the manga from which they derive) and nylon would be [ˈfileʁ] (roughly "feel-egh") and [ˈnajlõ] (roughly "nye lon'") in non-affected pronunciations, though tupperware is rather similar to a native form ([tɐpɐˈwɛɾ], [-ˈwɛʁ]).

Phonotactic and phonological rules of Portuguese or of certain Portuguese dialects, such as specific palatalization and vowel reduction patterns, also apply, so that while e.g. nice in São Paulo would become [ˈnajs], a native English form, in Rio de Janeiro it would become [ˈnajsi] (roughly "nicie") or [naj s̩] ("nye, sss!"), as [s] at the end of a syllable in the local dialect is non-existent – the local pronunciation of the archiphoneme /coda sibilant/ is palatalized [ɕ], the hushing second consonant in Japanese sushi. Brazilians, and some Africans and rural Portuguese with archaic dialects resembling Brazilian Portuguese, are known to insert an epenthetic [i] after virtually every final closed syllable to break them into two different open syllables, so that hippie and hip (as [i]star and estar/está, similar to Spanish) would sound wholly or nearly homophonous as [ˈʁipi], in the same way flirt became flerte ([ˈfleʁtʃi], [ˈflɛɾt(ɨ)] in Portugal) with time. Words that are not slang anymore tend to be adapted to Portuguese orthography.

  • Agroboy (Brazil) – a non-urban Brazilian playboy or yuppie, generally with its wealth earned by agricultural businesses
  • Beauty case – vanity case
  • Funk – a musical genre from Rio de Janeiro, local spin-off from Miami bass, completely unrelated to American funk music
  • Novo look – a makeover (hair, clothing, makeup, etc.)


  • Blugi – jeans, denim fabric (whether blue or not)
  • Tenisman – tennis player (feminine is tenismană)


  • KOM (Kick Off Meeting) – planning meeting, Project launch meeting.
  • Nuevo look – a makeover (hair, clothing, makeup etc.)
  • Play, Hipermegaplay (in Colombia) – Used in the same way American English speakers would use the slang term "Cool".
  • Round Point (in Colombian Spanish) – roundabout (from French rond-point)





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

  • Basecap – baseball cap
  • Best Ager – a person over the age of 50 (German Wikipedia)
  • Casting-Show – talent search television series
  • Catchen – wrestling
  • DJane – female disc jockey
  • Dressman – male model (Onysko calls this the 'canonical example' of a pseudo-anglicism.[8]
  • Ego-Shooter – first-person shooter (FPS)
  • Fitness-Studio or Fitnessstudio – gym
  • Fun-Sport – 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
  • Inlinern – to sake on inline skates (shoes)
  • Longseller – long-term (best)seller (German Wikipedia)
  • Lowlight – opposite of "highlight" (used in business environment in management reporting)
  • Pullunder, often Pollunder or Polunder – sweater vest
  • Punker – a punk (dated: punker)
  • Showmaster – emcee; (pl: Showmasters; v. showmastern)
  • Steadyseller – a book that sells consistently over a long term (variant of bestseller)
  • Talkmaster – talk show host
  • Trainings- – in compound terms such as Trainingsanzug, -hose, and -jacke for tracksuit, -trousers, and -top
  • trampen; Tramper – hitchhiking; hitchhiker
  • Twen – a person in his or her twenties, or the time period of one's twenties
  • Wellfit-Bar – a bar that caters to the needs of health-starved people[8]


  • After work – a meeting for drinks after the workday is finished[23]
  • Backslick – slick-back hairdo
  • HomestylingHome staging, making a home look better when presenting for sale, when done by professionals. Homestyling is used in the UK when helping residents fix their home for their own well-being.




  • Shop tour (шоп-тур, šop-tur) – an organized tour to a foreign country for shopping.



  • Clipmaker (клипмейкер, klipmeyker) – music video director
  • Face control (фейсконтроль, feyskontrol’) – checking whether a person looks appropriate (a common practice at Russian night clubs)
  • Metallist (металлист, metallist) – fan of heavy metal subculture
  • Safing (сейфинг, seyfing) – providing safe deposit boxes
  • Shop tour (шоп-тур, shop-tur) – an organized tour to a foreign country for shopping


  • Goalman (Golman / Голман) – Goalkeeper, Goalie
  • Recorder (Rekorder / Рекордер) – record holder (in sports)



  • Dbest [dəˈbɛst] – slang term meaning 'cool'
  • Full [ful] – slang term meaning 'very'

other Indo-European[edit]


Other non-Indo-European[edit]


  • Back-Axe (בק-אקס) – rear axle
  • Chaser (צ'ייסר) – small shot glass
  • Coacher (קואוצ'ר) – practitioner of life-coaching, a coach. ("Coacher" is a valid, but rare, English variant)
  • Combinator (קומבינטור) – a swindler/cheater/con-artist, but also less negatively just someone who's good at smooth talking and getting out of trouble, or finding quick-fix solutions to problems.
  • Front Back-Axe (פרונט בק-אקס) – front axle
  • Golf (גולף) – turtleneck sweater/jersey
  • Maniac (manyak מניאק) – an undesirable person, akin to "asshole" or "son of a bitch" in English. (Probably derived from Arabic, where it has some negative sexual connotation)
  • Money time (מאני טיים) – crunch time (in sports)
  • Nylon (ניילון) – any form of flexible plastic
  • Patent (patent פטנט) – an improvisation/innovation
  • Presenter (פרזנטור) – celebrity endorser
  • Punch (פאנצ׳) – a short joke, one-liner (not the punch line!)
  • Puncture (pancher פנצ'ר) – any mishap causing a delay
  • Scouter (סקאוטר) – talent scout. ("Scouter" is a valid, but rare, English variant)
  • Selector (סלקטור) – airport security screener, club bouncer
  • Snappling (snepling סנפלינג) – abseiling
  • Talkback (tokbek טוקבק) – A comment on a blog or an internet news site
  • V (וי) – check mark (✓). Used in the expression "לעשות וי" ("to do a V") meaning "to check off, indicate as done".



  • Air (แอร์) – Air conditioner.
  • Check-bill (เช็กบิล Chĕkh bil) – 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.
  • Freshy (เฟรชชี่ Ferch chī̀) – A college fresher or freshman.
  • Goal (โกล Kol) – means "goal keeper". "No goal" means to play football(soccer) without goal keepers.
  • Hi-so (ไฮโซ Ḥịso) – High Society describing someone who insists on designer labels.
  • Inter (อินเตอร์ Xintexr̒) – means "international". "I am so inter" means the person has been abroad and is interested in foreign, mostly Western things.
  • In-trend (อินเทรนด์ Xin the rnd̒) – Trendy. The word "trend" is usually pronounced in Thai accent as "tren" because final consonants are not as pronounced in Thai as in English.
  • Too fast to sleep – Too early to sleep. The Thai word /rēw/ (เร็ว rĕw) means either fast or early, depending on context.
  • Ver or Over (เวอร์ Wexr̒ or โอเวอร์ Xowexr̒) – Exaggerated or overstated.



  • Coca (cô ca) – Coca-Cola
  • MC (em xi) – TV host, talk show host, television presenter; originating from hip-hop slang
  • Film (phim) – both movies and soap opera
  • Photo (phô tô) – photocopy
  • 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

Multiple languages[edit]

  • Air-Condition (German, Greek, Serbo-Croatian, Swedish) – air conditioning
  • Autostop (or in some languages stop) (Bulgarian, Czech, French, Greek, Hungarian, Italian,[27] Polish, Romanian, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Slovak, Spanish, Turkish) – hitchhiking
  • Beauty farm (Dutch, German Beauty-Farm and Beautyfarm, Italian[28]) – spa
  • Camping-car (French, Japanese キャンピングカー) – campervan or "recreational vehicle"
  • Fotoshooting (Danish, German, Romanian) – photo session, photo shoot
  • Fotoshop (Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese, Hungarian, Serbo-Croatian, Russian, Turkish) – manipulated photo (from the name of Adobe Photoshop)
  • Frac (French, Italian, Serbian variety of Serbo-Croatian), from "frock coat" – evening tailcoat
  • Goalman (Slovenian, Serbo-Croatian) – Goalkeeper
  • Handphone (Indonesian, Korean 핸드폰) – mobile phone (compare German Handy)
  • Hometrainer (Dutch, German, Portuguese) – exercise bicycle or other low-level consumer fitness machine
  • IC (Chinese, Japanese, Korean) – interchange[citation needed]
  • K-Way (French [kawe], Italian) – windbreaker[citation needed]
  • Luna park (Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Polish, Serbian variety of Serbo-Croatian, Turkish, Russian) – amusement park (derived from the name of an amusement park in New York)
  • MV (Chinese, Korean) – music video[citation needed]
  • PK (Chinese) – play-kill (this term usually refers to a lighthearted competition/conflict and originates from arcade games)[citation needed]
  • Recordman (French, Greek, Italian, Romanian, Russian recordsman, Turkish) – record holder in sports*
  • Topfit (Dutch, German) – perfectly physically fit
  • Zapping (Danish zappe, French, German zappen (verb), Greek, Italian [ˈdzappiŋɡ], Dutch zappen, Swedish zappa) – (TV) channel-surfing, channel-hopping[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sicherl 1999, p. 14.
  2. ^ Duckworth 1977.
  3. ^ Onysko 2007, p. 52The term pseudo-anglicism" describes the phenomenon that occurs when the RL['receptor language'; p.14] uses lexical elements of the SL['source language'; p.14] to create a neologism in the RL that is unknown in the SL. For the German language, Duckworth simply defines pseudo anglicisms as German neologisms derived from English language material.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Ayres-Bennett 2014, p. 335.
  5. ^ Filipović 1990.
  6. ^ Saugera 2017, p. 54, 3.4.2 False anglicisms.
  7. ^ Picone 1996, p. 316.
  8. ^ a b c d e Onysko 2007, p. 52.
  9. ^ Carstensen 2015, p. 77.
  10. ^ Duckworth 1977, [page needed]:Neubildungen der deutschen Sprache mit Englischem Sprachmaterial.
  11. ^ Anderman 2005, p. 164.
  12. ^ Filipović 1990, p. 138–139, 4.7 Adaptation of pseudoanglicisms.
  13. ^ Rey-Debove 1990, p. 1018.
  14. ^ Furiassi 2015, p. 17.
  15. ^ Desa Philadelphia (26 November 2001). "Local English". Time. Retrieved 2 August 2009. 
  16. ^ Kim Hyo-jin (10 June 2002). "English? Konglish? Purists concede to 'fighting' cheer". JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2 August 2009. 
  17. ^ "Korea Fighting!". JoongAng Daily. 18 June 2006. Retrieved 2 August 2009. 
  18. ^ "외국어 공식 포탈 –". Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  19. ^ «Autogrill» , Vocabolario Treccani on line, Istituto dell'Enciclopedia italiana
  20. ^ «Beauty-Case», Vocabolario Treccani on line, Istituto dell'Enciclopedia italiana
  21. ^ «Bloc-Notes» , Vocabolario Treccani on line, Istituto dell'Enciclopedia italiana
  22. ^ Furiassi 2015, p. 10–11.
  23. ^ "After work ett svenskt påhitt" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. Retrieved 12 December 2015. 
  24. ^ "boks". Słownik języka polskiego (in Polish). Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  25. ^ "developer". Słownik języka polskiego (in Polish). Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN. Retrieved 21 June 2015. 
  26. ^ "dres". Słownik wyrazów obcych (in Polish). Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  27. ^ «Autostop» , Vocabolario Treccani on line, Istituto dell'Enciclopedia italiana
  28. ^ «Beauty farm» , Vocabolario Treccani on line, Istituto dell'Enciclopedia italiana


Further reading[edit]

  • 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.


External links[edit]