In case you need help on the pronunciation and meaning of some of the words mentioned above (provide your own nasal tones):

c'est la vie (French) seh-lah-VEE. that's life.

c'est magnifique (French) seh-man-eee-FEEK. it's magnificent.

cre me de la cre me (French) KREM-duh-lah-KREM. cream of the cream; the very best.

comme ci, comme ca, (French) kum-SEE-kum-SAH. so-so.

enfant terrible (French) a-FA-teh-REE-bluh. incorrigible; over-precocious child.

je ne sais quoi (French) zhuh-n'seh-KWAH. an indescribable thing or feeling.

kismet (Turkish) KIS-met. fate; lot; will of Allah.

And some others:

al dente (Italian) ahl-DEN-teh. not overcooked.

al fresco (Italian) ahl-FRAYS-koh. outdoors; in the open air.

antebellum (Latin) ahn-teh-BEL-loom. prewar; before the war.

be te noire (French) bet-NWAR. one's strongest hatred, fear, or aversion.

chutzpah (Yiddish) KHOOTS-pah. audacity; gall; nerve.

coup de gra ce (French) Koo-duh-GRAHS. death blow; finishing stroke.

fait accompli (French) FEH-tah-ko-PLEE. accomplished fact; a thing done.

de'tente (French) day-TAUNT. release of strained relations.

hoi polloi (Greek) hoy-pohl-LOY. the many; rabble.

pied-a -terre (French) PYAY-tah-TEHR. house or apartment maintained for convenience, apart from one's principal residence.

savoir-faire (French) sah-vwar-FEHR. ability to do, say, and know the right and proper thing effortlessly.

For more help, some dictionaries of foreign words and phrases:


A Dictionary of Foreign Terms, by C.O. Sylvester Mawson, updated by Charles Berlitz (Barnes and Noble, 1975). $4.95.

Dictionary of Foreign Terms, by Mario Pei (Dell Publishing Co., Inc., 1974). $2.25. (Source of pronunciation and meaning in above list).

Le Mot Juste, editorial panel of eight editors (Vintage Books, 1981). $2.95.


Dictionary of Foreign Phrases and Abbreviations, by Kevin Guinagh (The H.W. Wilson Co., 1972). $12.