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Reborrowing is the process where a word travels from one language to another and then back to the originating language in a different form or with a different meaning.

This way is indicated by A→B→A, where A is the originating language.

The result is generally a doublet, where the reborrowed word exists alongside the original word, though in other cases the original word may have died out.

In some cases the borrowing process can be more complicated and the words might move through different languages before coming back to the originating language.

The single move from one language to the other is called "loan" (see loanword). Reborrowing is the result of more than one loan, when the final recipient language is the same as the originating one.


Old Norse: klubba English: club   Swedish: klubb ("association of people")
French: tenez [1] English: tennis French: tennis (the sport)
French: cotte  English: riding coat French: redingote English: redingote
Greek: κίνημα  (kínēma, movement) French: cinéma Greek: σινεμά (sinemá, cinema)
Dutch: bolwerk (bulwark, bastion) French: boulevard Dutch: boulevard ("broad avenue")
Dutch : manneken "little man"[2] French: mannequin Dutch: mannequin ("catwalk model")
Dutch : vraambes French: framboise Dutch: framboos
Middle Dutch : snacken[3] "to gasp/bite at" /ˈsnɑkən/ English: to snack[4] Dutch: snacken /ˈsnɛkən/
English: crack (news,  gossip) Irish: craic (fun) English: craic
English: animation Japanese: アニメ[5] (anime) English: anime (Japanese animation)
Hebrew: תַּכְלִית /taχˈlit/ (purpose) Yiddish: תכלית /ˈtaχləs/ (result; purpose; serious business[6]) Hebrew: תַּכְלֶס /ˈtaχles/ (directly, matter-of-factly, cutting the crap)
Spanish: tronada (thunderstorm) English: tornado Spanish: tornado
Chinese: 革命 (dynastic changes) Japanese: 革命 (revolution) Chinese: 革命 (revolution)[7]
Chinese: 共和 (Gonghe Regency) Japanese: 共和 (republic) Chinese: 共和 (republic)
Chinese: 抹茶 (A lost way of tea making) Japanese: 抹茶 (matcha) Chinese: 抹茶 (Japanese style matcha)
Chinese: 菓子 (fruit, pastry) Japanese: 菓子 (pastry) Chinese: 菓子 (wagashi)
Old Turkic: ülüş (share, portion) Mongolian: ulus (country, division) Turkish: ulus (nation)
Turkish: bey armudu (bergamot, "lord's pear") Italian: bergamotta French: bergamote Turkish: bergamot
Middle Mongol language: jarlig (royal decree) Russian: yarlyk (label, price tag) Mongolian: yarlyk (price tag)

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Imperative form of the verb tenir, "to hold".
  2. ^ figuratively used in the Flemish textile industry for a model of a human figure on which clothing was created or displayed
  3. ^ De Vries, Jan W.; Willemyns, Roland; Burger, Peter (2003), Het verhaal van een taal (6th ed.), Amsterdam: Prometheus, p. 248, ISBN 90-5333-423-8 
  4. ^ Etymology of "to snack" at
  5. ^ Borrowed from English directly as アニメーション (animēshon) and usually abbreviated to アニメ in a manner quite common in Japanese.
  6. ^ Yiddish Dictionary Online
  7. ^ [1]