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The Surprising List Of 15 Common English Phrases Of Chinese Origin

The Surprising List Of 15 Common English Phrases Of Chinese Origin

English words from Chinese words are often denoted as being ‘loanwords.’ A loanword is one that does not share a literal translation of the word. Rather the word is based on the adopted language. Quite simply, the word is borrowed and then co-opted into the new language. Words, such as, bok choy or brain wash are referred to as a calque, because the meaning is the same in both Chinese and English.

1. Gung Ho 长庚何

Pronounced gōng hé in Mandarin. The literal translation is,”work together.” The English use was popularized by Marines fighting in the Pacific in World War II. The phrase came to mean: “whole heartedly enthusiastic, and loyal, eager, and zealous.”

2. Typhoon 台风

Pronounced dàfēng in Mandarin and tai fung in Cantonese. The literal translation is “strong wind.”  Experts say the term, typhon from the Greek and Arabic, was strengthened with the Chinese translation.

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3. Chopsticks 筷子

British sailors are said to have first used this word in the late 17th century. The term derives from the word ‘kap kap’, which sounds like chop-chop to the English ear. The Chinese word literally means “fast.”

4. China 中国

In Chinese, the name is pronounced zhōng guó and literally means “the middle country.” The name was first used by the Italian explorer, Marco Polo.

5. Catsup (Ketchup) 番茄酱

Pronounced koechiap and literally means “brine of fish.” Originally, ketchup was a tomato based sauce for fish. Purportedly, introduced to England by William Ketchner.

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 6. Silk 丝绸

Pronounced si in Mandarin. The word was first introduced to Western culture by smugglers who took silk worms and mulberry leaves out of China in 552 Common Era (CE).

7. Feng Shui 风水

Literally wind and water. It is the Chinese belief in creating a spiritual balance in one’s home and workplace. The word was first introduced to Westerners in 1757.

8. J-Particle J 粒子

A subatomic particle discovered by Samuel C. C. Ting. The letter J resembles the Chinese symbol of Ting’s last name.

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9. Kowtow 磕头

Literally means “knock head.” Pronounced e k’o-t’ou in Chinese. In China the word is a way of bowing and touching the forehead to the ground to indicate respect. In English the word means to “be servile: to behave in an extremely submissive way in order to please somebody in a position of authority.”

10. Junk 垃圾

The literal translation in Chinese is “boat.” In 1884 the term came to mean “old refuse from boats and ships,” and eventually came to mean trash in Western culture.

11. Lose Face 丢了面子

The literal translation is “humiliation” and is pronounced tu lien in Chinese. The word is said to have been introduced to English speakers in 1876.

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12. Shanghai 上海

Shanghai is a Chinese seaport. The word in English came to mean, “to drug a man unconscious and ship him as a sailor.” This was the practice of ‘recruiting’ sailors to the seaport of Shanghai.

13. Tai Chi 太极

In Chinese, the word is literally translated to the “supreme ultimate.” It is now used in American lingo to describe the martial art of tai chi. Some emphasize the slow movements as a form of exercise, while others practice it as a martial art.

14. Oolong 乌龙茶

Literally “black dragon.” First introduced to the English language in 1852 as a dark, black tea.

15. Tea 茶

Pronounced chá in Chinese. Introduced to the English in 1852, from the Mandarin.

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Last Updated on March 24, 2021

8 Smart Home Gadgets You Need in Your House

8 Smart Home Gadgets You Need in Your House

We’ve all done it. We’ve gone out and bought useless gadgets that we don’t really need, just because they seemed really cool at the time. Then, we are stuck with a bunch of junk, and end up tossing it or trying to sell it on Ebay.

On the other hand, there are some pretty awesome tech inventions that are actually useful. For instance, many of the latest home gadgets do some of your work for you, from adjusting the home thermostat to locking your front door. And, if used as designed, these tools should really help to make your life a lot easier—and that’s not just a claim from some infomercial trying to sell you yet another useless gadget.

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Take a look at some of the most popular “smart gadgets” on the market:

1. Smart Door Locks

A smart lock lets you lock and unlock your doors by using your smartphone, a special key fob, or biometrics. These locks are keyless, and much more difficult for intruders to break into, making your home a lot safer. You can even use a special app to let people into your home if you are not there to greet them.

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2. Smart Kitchen Tools

Wouldn’t you just love to have a pot of coffee waiting for you when you get home from work? What about a “smart pan” that tells you exactly when you need to flip that omelet? From meat thermometers to kitchen scales, you’ll find a variety of “smart” gadgets designed to make culinary geeks salivate.

3. Mini Home Speaker Play:1

If you love big sound, but hate how much space big speakers take up, and if you want a stereo system that is no bigger than your fist, check out the Play:1 mini speaker. All you have to do is plug it in, connect, and then you can stream without worrying about any interruptions or interface. You can even add onto it, and have different music playing in different rooms.

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4. Wi-Fi Security Cameras

These are the latest in home security, and they connect to the Wi-Fi in your home. You can use your mobile devices to monitor what is going on in your home at all times, no matter where you are. Options include motion sensors, two-way audio, and different recording options.

5. Nest Thermostat

This is a thermostat that lives with you. It can sense seasonal changes, temperature changes, etc., and it will adjust itself automatically. You will never have to fiddle with a thermostat dial or keypad again, because this one basically does all of the work for you. It can also help you to save as much as 12% on heating bills, and 15% on cooling bills.

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6. Smart Lighting

Control your home lighting from your remote device. This is great if you are out and want to make sure that there are some lights on. It is designed to be energy efficient, so it will pay for itself over time because you won’t have to spend so much on your monthly energy bills.

7. Google Chromecast Ultra

Whether you love movies, television shows, music, etc., you can stream it all using Google Chromecast Ultra. Stream all of the entertainment you love in up to 4K UHD and HDR, for just $69 monthly.

8. Canary

This home security system will automatically contact emergency services when they are needed. This system offers both video and audio surveillance, so there will be evidence if there are any break-ins on your property. You can also use it to check up on what’s happening at home when you are not there, including to make sure the kids are doing their homework.

Featured photo credit: Karolina via kaboompics.com

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