9 Words That Were Borrowed From One Language, Transformed, Then Borrowed Back

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One of the ways languages expand is to borrow words from other languages. After the borrowed word gets comfy in its new language, it can get transformed in such a way that the original language finds a reason to borrow it back in its transformed version. Here are some words that found new meanings on a foreign exchange adventure and returned home with a fresh perspective.

1. Turquoise

French called the blue-colored gem “Turkish stone,” and then the Turquoise part of pierre turquoise came to stand for the color on its own. It was then borrowed into Turkish as tukuaz—which does not mean “Turkish,” but rather the blue-green color.

2. Tornado

Borrowed from Spanish tronada (for thunderstorm) into English as tornado. Borrowed back into Spanish for the funnel cloud storm as tornado.

3. Anime

Animation was borrowed from English into Japanese as animeshon, and shortened to anime. Borrowed back into English as anime.

4. Safari

Borrowed from Arabic safar (travel) into Swahili as safari and from there into English and other languages. Borrowed back into Arabic for wildlife tour, specifically as “safari journey.”

5. Camp

Borrowed from French champ for "field" into English. Borrowed back into French from English as camping for tent camping.

6. Manager

Borrowed from Italian maneggiare into English as manage (to handle or direct). Borrowed from English into Italian il manager for music, talent, or sports manager.

7. Cravat

Borrowed into French from the Croatian word for Croatian person, Hrvat, after the scarf they saw on Croatian mercenaries that became the style in Europe. Borrowed back into Croatian for the necktie specifically as kravata.

8. Mannequin

Borrowed into French from Dutch manneken, for little man. Borrowed back into Dutch as mannequin for runway model.

9. Beef

Borrowed into English from French boeuf for the meat of a cow, ox, or bull. Borrowed back into French in the term for roast beef as rosbif.