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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 with the same meaning.[1][2][3][4][5]

For example, English speakers traveling in France may be struck by the "number of anglicisms—or rather words that look English—which are used in a different sense than they have in English, or which do not exist in English (such as rallye-paper, shake-hand, baby-foot, or baby-parc)".[6]

This is different from a false friend, which is a word with a cognate that has a different main meaning. Sometimes pseudo-anglicisms become false friends.[7]

Definition and terminology[edit]

Pseudo-anglicisms are also called secondary anglicisms,[8] false anglicisms,[9] or pseudo-English.[10]

Pseudo-anglicisms are a kind of lexical borrowing where the source or donor language is English, but where the borrowing is reworked in the receptor or recipient language.[11][12]

The precise definition varies. Duckworth defines pseudo-anglicisms in German as "neologisms derived from English language material."[11][13] Furiassi includes words that may exist in English with a "conspicuously different meaning".[14]

Typology and mechanism[edit]

Pseudo-anglicisms can be created in various ways, such as by archaism, i.e., words that 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.[15]

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, Weitsprung (long jump), plus the English 'coach', to create the new German word Weitsprung-Coach.[11]

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 vaterpolist. 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".[16]

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].[17]


Pseudo-anglicisms can be found in many languages that have contact with English around the world, and are attested in nearly all European languages.[18]

The equivalent of pseudo-Anglicisms derived from languages other than English also exist. For example, the English-language phrase "double entendre", while often believed to be French and pronounced in a French fashion, is not actually used in French. For other examples, see dog Latin, list of pseudo-French words adapted to English, and list of pseudo-German words adapted to English.


Many languages[edit]

Some pseudo-anglicisms are found in many languages and have been characterized as "world-wide pseudo-English",[19] often borrowed via other languages such as French or Italian:[20]


  • salaryman (サラリーマン, sararīman)[34] – a white collar employee (salaried worker)
  • Pokémon (ポケモン, "pocket monster")[34]


  • one shot – "bottoms up" (원샷 [wʌn.ɕjat̚])[35]
  • hand phone – "cellphone" (핸드폰 [hɛn.dɯ.pon])[36]
  • skinship – platonic hand-holding, hugging, etc. (스킨십; seu·kin·sib)[37]



French includes many pseudo-anglicisms, including novel compounds (baby-foot), specifically compounds in -man (tennisman), truncations (foot), places in -ing (dancing meaning dancing-place, not the act of dancing), and a large variety of meaning shifts.[38]






German pseudo anglicisms often have multiple valid and common ways of writing them, generally either hyphenated (Home-Office) or in one word (Homeoffice).[60] Infrequently, CamelCase may also be used.[citation needed]

  • Beamer – a video projector[61]
  • Bodybag – a messenger bag
  • Charity-Lady (pl.: Charity-Ladys): upper-class woman who uses her fortune and her social influence to do charity work
  • Dressman – a male model (Onysko calls this the 'canonical example' of a pseudo-anglicism.[11])
  • Flipper – a pinball machine[62]
  • Funsport – a sport played for amusement, such as skateboarding or frisbee[40][63]
  • Handy – a mobile phone[64]
  • Homeoffice – working from home, used as a noun[60]
  • Jobticket – a free pass for public transport provided by an employer for employees[65]
  • Oldtimer – an antique car[40]
  • Public Viewing – a public viewing event (party) of a football match or similar
  • Shooting – a photoshoot[62]
  • trampen (verb) – hitchhiking[66]
  • mobbing – bullying



  • after work – a meeting for drinks after the workday is finished[69]
  • backslick – A wet, combed-back hair style[citation needed]
  • pocket – A paper-back book[70]






Malaysian Malay[edit]


Other languages[edit]


  • cosercosplayer, modelled after the verb "cos" (to cosplay)


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ayres-Bennett 2014, p. 325,335.
  2. ^ Ilse Sørensen, English im deutschen Wortschatz, 1997, p. 18, as quoted in Onysko, 2007, p. 53: "words that look English, but which deviate from genuine English words either formally or semantically"
  3. ^ Sicherl 1999, p. 14.
  4. ^ Duckworth 1977.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Nicol Spence 1976, as quoted in Ayres-Bennett, 2014, p. 335
  7. ^ Henrik Gottlieb, "Danish pseudo-Anglicisms: A corpus-based analysis", p. 65 in Furiassi 2015
  8. ^ Filipović 1990.
  9. ^ Saugera 2017, p. 54, 3.4.2 False anglicisms.
  10. ^ Picone 1996, p. 316.
  11. ^ a b c d Onysko 2007, p. 52.
  12. ^ Carstensen 2015, p. 77
    The influence of a 'donor language' upon a 'recipient language' can be seen also, and above all, in the so-called pseudo-loanwords, as the literature names them. Den intensiven Einfluß einer donor language auf eine recipient language zeigen auch und ganz besonders die in der Literatur so genannten Scheinentlehnungen an.
  13. ^ Duckworth 1977, [page needed] : Neubildungen der deutschen Sprache mit Englischem Sprachmaterial.; as quoted in: Carstensen (2015, p. 77)
  14. ^ Furiassi 2010, p. 34, quoted in Lujan-Garcia (2017, p. 281)
    "[A] word or idiom that is recognizably English in its form (spelling, pronunciation, morphology, or at least one of the three), but is accepted as an item in the vocabulary of the receptor language even though it does not exist or is used with a conspicuously different meaning in English."
  15. ^ Anderman 2005, p. 164.
  16. ^ Filipović 1990, p. 138–139, 4.7 Adaptation of pseudoanglicisms.
  17. ^ Rey-Debove 1990, p. 1018.
  18. ^ Furiassi 2015, p. 17.
  19. ^ Broder Carstensen, "Euro-English", in Linguistics across historical and geographical boundaries: in honour of Jacek Fisiak..., 2, in Trends in Linguistics: Studies and Monographs 32, 1986, p. 831
  20. ^ e.g., Λεξικό της κοινής Νεοελληνικής s.v. σμόκιν
  21. ^ a b c d e Collins le Robert French Dictionary, 11th ed., 2020, s.v.
  22. ^ «Autostop», Vocabolario Treccani on line, Istituto dell'Enciclopedia italiana
  23. ^ a b c d Georgios Babiniotis, Λεξικό της Νέας Ελληνικής Γλώσσας, 1998, s.v.
  24. ^ a b c Gorlach, 2001, s.v.
  25. ^ "SBL Herr". www.sblherr.se.
  26. ^ PONS Online Dictionary
  27. ^ PONS Online Dictionary
  28. '^ PONS Online Dictionary
  29. ^ "Camping".
  30. ^ smoking, Den Danske Ordbog
  31. ^ "Smoking".
  32. ^ "Duden | Smoking | Rechtschreibung, Bedeutung, Definition, Herkunft". www.duden.de (in German). Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  33. ^ Oxford Paravia Italian Dictionary, 2001, ISBN 0198604378, s.v.
  34. ^ a b Furiassi 2015, p. 42.
  35. ^ "Search result for '원샷'". Retrieved 9 August 2023.
  36. ^ "Search result for '핸드폰'". Retrieved 9 August 2023.
  37. ^ "8 words that look like English but actually aren't – ESL language studies abroad". ESL Stories. 1 October 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  38. ^ a b c d e f g Clyde Thogmartin, "Some 'English' Words in French", The French Review 57:4:447-455 (March 1984) JSTOR 393310
  39. ^ a b c d Ayres-Bennett 2014, p. 335.
  40. ^ a b c d e f Matthew Anderson, "The foreign words that seem like English – but aren't", BBC Culture 13 October 2016
  41. ^ Collins le Robert French Dictionary, 11th ed., 2020, s.v. (usage note)
  42. ^ Geyer 1903, p. 19.
  43. ^ a b "English Translation of "autobus" | Collins Italian-English Dictionary".
  44. ^ «Autogrill», Vocabolario Treccani on line, Istituto dell'Enciclopedia italiana
  45. ^ «Beauty farm», Vocabolario Treccani on line, Istituto dell'Enciclopedia italiana
  46. ^ «Bloc-Notes», Vocabolario Treccani on line, Istituto dell'Enciclopedia italiana
  47. ^ Cristiano Furiassi, "How jolly is the joker? Problemi di traducibilità dei falsi anglicismi" in the Atti del 5° congresso di studi dell’Associazione Italiana di Linguistica Applicata (AItLA). Bari, 17,18 febbraio 2005
  48. ^ babylift, Den Danske Ordbog
  49. ^ butterfly, Den Danske Ordbog
  50. ^ cottoncoat, Den Danske Ordbog
  51. ^ cowboytoast, Den Danske Ordbog
  52. ^ doorstep, Wiktionary
  53. ^ "Legekøkken | Køb dit legetøjskøkken online her | Coop.dk". shopping.coop.dk.
  54. ^ monkeyclass, Den Danske Ordbog
  55. ^ speedmarker, Den Danske Ordbog
  56. ^ stationcar, Den Danske Ordbog
  57. ^ timemanager, Den Danske Ordbog
  58. ^ Vullers, Pim (2012). "Beamer (LaTeX)". Radboud University. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  59. ^ "Box". etymologiebank.nl. Retrieved 12 June 2024.
  60. ^ a b "Duden | Homeoffice | Rechtschreibung, Bedeutung, Definition, Herkunft". www.duden.de (in German). Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  61. ^ "Duden | Beamer | Rechtschreibung, Bedeutung, Definition, Herkunft". www.duden.de (in German). Retrieved 14 March 2021.
  62. ^ a b "German Pseudo-Anglicisms – Yabla German – Free German Lessons".
  63. ^ "Duden | Funsport | Rechtschreibung, Bedeutung, Definition, Herkunft". www.duden.de (in German). Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  64. ^ "Handy ohne Vertrag: Angebote März 2023". www.sparhandy.de.
  65. ^ "Duden | Jobticket | Rechtschreibung, Bedeutung, Definition, Herkunft". www.duden.de (in German). Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  66. ^ "Duden | Trampen | Rechtschreibung, Bedeutung, Definition, Herkunft". www.duden.de (in German). Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  67. ^ "hands". www.naob.no. Retrieved 5 July 2024.
  68. ^ "Sixpence". www.skittfiske.no. Retrieved 18 September 2022.
  69. ^ "After work ett svenskt påhitt". Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). 11 March 2015. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  70. ^ "Topplistan Pocket – Akademibokhandeln". www.akademibokhandeln.se.
  71. ^ "dres". Słownik wyrazów obcych (in Polish). Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN. Retrieved 11 April 2012.[permanent dead link]
  72. ^ "Преимущества и недостатки дресс-кроссинга". 19 September 2015.
  73. ^ Baldwin 2020, Клипмейкер.
  74. ^ «страйкбол», «Словари и энциклопедии на Академике»
  75. ^ Страйкбол, «Википедия»
  76. ^ Escalona, Katrina (5 September 2017). "16 English Words and Sayings Travellers Won't Understand in the Philippines". theculturetrip.com. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  77. ^ a b c d e f Johari, Farouq. "21 'English Words' Yang Menyimpang Jauh Maksudnya Bila Orang Kita Guna Untuk Bersembang". says.com.
  78. ^ a b c d "9 perkataan English yang terpesong maknanya bila di-Melayukan". soscili.my. 13 August 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  79. ^ a b c Roslan, Rizmi (18 January 2015). "10 Perkataan English Yang Telah Di Melayukan. Mat Salleh Pun Takkan Faham". The Vocket.
  80. ^ a b Kompasiana.com (5 September 2012). "Istilah Bahasa Inggris Kreasi Orang Indonesia". KOMPASIANA (in Indonesian). Retrieved 11 December 2023.
  81. ^ Chucky (26 November 2016). "5 Kelmiet Li Taħsibhom Ingliżi Imma Mhumiex". Lovin Malta. Retrieved 24 February 2024.


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’’ Archived 1 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, (Palgrave Studies in Language History and Language Change, Series editor: Charles Jones). ISBN 1-4039-1723-X.

External links[edit]