Vocabulary Study: Foreign Words

porte cochere

The porte cochere entrance is designed to set the Moroccan theme for arriving guests.

risqué

Tableau vivant

Theatrical censorship in Britain and the US forbade actresses to move when nude or semi-nude on stage, so tableaux vivant had a place in risqué entertainment for many years although in the early 1900s, German dancer Olga Desmond appeared in Schönheitsabende (“Evenings of Beauty”) in which she posed nude in “living pictures”, imitating classical works of art.

In the nineteenth century they took such titles as “Nymphs Bathing” and “Diana the Huntress” and were to be found at such places as the “Hall of Rome” in Great Windmill Street, London. Other venues were the “Coal Hole” in the Strand and the “Cyder Cellar” in Maiden Lane. After 1900, nude and semi-nude tableaux vivant also became a frequent feature of variety shows in the U.S.: first on Broadway in New York, then elsewhere in the country. The Ziegfeld Follies featured tableaux vivant from 1917. The Windmill Theatre in London (1932–1964) featured nude tableaux vivant on stage; it was the first, and for many years the only venue for them in 20th century London.

Tableau vivant,

ingénue

The ingénue (/ˈænʒənuː/) is a stock character in literature, film, and a role type in the theatre; generally a girl or a young woman who is endearingly innocent and wholesome. Ingenue may also refer to a new young actress or one typecast in such roles. The term comes from the French adjective ingénu meaning “ingenuous” or innocent, virtuous, and candid. The term may also imply a lack of sophistication and cunning.

Typically, the ingenue is beautiful, gentle, sweet, virginal, and often naïve, in mental or emotional danger, or even physical danger, usually a target of The Cad; whom she may have mistaken for The Hero. Due to lack of independence, the ingenue usually lives with her father or a father figure (although in some rare cases she lives with a mother figure). The vamp (femme fatale) is often a foil for the ingenue (or the damsel in distress).

blasé

In the next few years, more surprises followed. Mounting evidence showed that there was a heavier analog of the electron and muon—the tau lepton. Then in July 1977 there was another “sudden discovery”, made at Fermilab: this time of a particle based on the b quark. I happened to be spending the summer of 1977 doing particle physics at Argonne National Lab, not far away from Fermilab. And it was funny: I remember there was a kind of blasé attitude toward the discovery. Like “another unexpected particle physics discovery; there’ll be lots more”.
A Moment for Particle Physics: The End of a 40-Year Story? By Stephen Wolfram. @ http://blog.stephenwolfram.com/2012/07/a-moment-for-particle-physics-the-end-of-a-40-year-story/

du jour

Gabby Douglas was the topic du jour for Olympic commentators throughout last week, but over the weekend, she became a centerpiece in another manufactured controversy at Fox News, America's top outlet for manufactured controversies. Douglas' pink leotard, Fox host Alisyn Camerota lamented, was emblematic of an Olympic “trend” (one that, Fox wants you to believe, is part of a liberal-left conspiracy to rid the world of red, white, and blue) of athletes wearing colors that don't appear on the American flag.
Fox News Doesn't Think Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas Is Patriotic Enough By Travis Waldron. @ http://thinkprogress.org/alyssa/2012/08/06/644531/fox-news-doesnt-think-olympic-gold-medalist-gabby-douglas-is-patriotic-enough/

Duomo

That's the Palazzo Vecchio and the Duomo, seen from the Belvedere.
dialogue in movie The Silence of the Lambs (film) (1991).

de jure

While Hu Jintao gave some signs of being more flexible with regard to political relationships with Taiwan as in his 17 May Statement where he offered to address the issue of "international living space" for Taiwan, Hu's government remains firm in its position that the Mainland side will not tolerate any attempt by the Taiwanese government to declare de jure independence from China.
Hu Jintao 2011-01-19

dénouement

Date a girl who doesn't read because the girl who reads knows the importance of plot. She can trace out the demarcations of a prologue and the sharp ridges of a climax. She feels them in her skin. The girl who reads will be patient with an intermission and expedite a dénouement. But of all things, the girl who reads knows most the ineluctable significance of an end. She is comfortable with them. She has bid farewell to a thousand heroes with only a twinge of sadness.
You Should Date An Illiterate Girl By Charles Warnke @ http://thoughtcatalog.com/2011/dont-date-a-girl-who-reads/2/
dénouement = the outcome of a complex sequence of events; the final resolution of the main complication of a literary or dramatic work

outré

Inspired by glam rock artists like David Bowie and Queen, as well as pop singers such as Madonna and Michael Jackson, Gaga is well-recognized for her outré sense of style as a recording artist, in fashion, in performance and in her music videos.
Lady gaga 2011-02-08
For a example of Lady Gaga's outré style, see her music video at Lady Gaga - Bad Romance
outré = Out of the common course or limits; extravagant; bizarre; as, an outré costume.

démarche

The draft demarche demanded to know the purpose of the test and whether it is part of a missile-defense system; whether China plans to deploy missile defenses for its forces and territory; what “foreign forces” is China planning to target with the missile defenses; and whether China tried to limit space debris.
Inside the Ring By Bill Gertz, The Washington Times. @ http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/mar/9/inside-the-ring-846232496/print/
démarche = a move or step or maneuver in political or diplomatic affairs.

précis

As fiction, Sophie's World deserves no better than a D+. But as a précis of great thought, Gaarder's tour de force rates a solid B.
Looking-Glass Philosophy: An odd new novel blends mystery with metaphysics By John Elson. @ Source
In the nickelodeon era, movies were closer to ten-minute précis of Classics Illustrated versions of literary works.
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précis = a sketchy summary of the main points of an argument or theory.

lycée

Poncelet was born in Metz, France, on July 1, 1788; the illegitimate son of Claude Poncelet, a lawyer of the Parliament of Metz, and a wealthy landowner. … Returning to Metz for secondary education, he attended the lycée in his hometown.
Jean-Victor Poncelet (mathematician)
lycée = A French public secondary school. lycée

détente

Perhaps we'll get some detente going forward. But I'll close with one last observation. PR [Public Relations] is not leading this dispute. It's following behind. This dispute is happening because real engineers at Google felt there was a deep injustice going on — as reflected in the quote from Google's Amit Singhal in my original article. I've known Singhal for years. I've never seen him speak like this before. It's not because Google PR told him to. It's because he's fundamentally bothered by what he's seen — as are members of his team.
Bing: Why Google's Wrong In Its Accusations By Danny Sullivan. @ http://searchengineland.com/bing-why-googles-wrong-in-its-accusations-63279
detente = the easing of tensions or strained relations; A policy toward a rival nation or bloc characterized by increased diplomatic, commercial, and cultural contact and a desire to reduce tensions, as through negotiation or talks. (AHD)

troika

After a bumpy first couple of years after he joined Google as C.E.O. in 2001, they had developed a remarkable relationship. But also a weird one. How many successful organizations have a troika making decisions? Schmidt, according to associates, lost some energy and focus after losing the China decision.
Why Is Eric Schmidt Stepping Down at Google? By Ken Auletta @ http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2011/01/eric-schmidt-google.html
troika = a Russian carriage pulled by three horses abreast.

fete

Chinese President Hu Jintao will come to Congress on Thursday for meetings on both ends of the Capitol with some of his critics, a day after being feted at the White House but also pressed on human rights and other issues. …
Chinese President Hu Jintao to face critics on Capitol Hill By Paul Kane @ http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/19/AR2011011905092.html
fete = an elaborate party (often outdoors); feast, fiesta.

tranche

he State Department had known for a few days that the release of the next tranche of WikiLeaks documents was imminent. The target this time wasn't the military but the US State Department. The leak of 251,287 secret diplomatic cables would be the biggest in the history of diplomacy, a disaster of global proportions. Never before had the details of a country's diplomacy been exposed to such an extent.
Lifting the Lid on WikiLeaks An Inside Look at Difficult Negotiations with Julian Assange By Marcel Rosenbach and Holger Stark. @ http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,742163-2,00.html
tranche = a portion of something (especially money). (French for “slice”)

ipso facto

Your posting here makes you ipso facto part of the Lisp community.
Erik Naggum in comp.lang.lisp newsgroup
ipso facto = By the fact itself.

modus vivendi

137. Take our environmental problems, for example. Here the conflict of values is straightforward: economic expedience now versus saving some of our natural resources for our grandchildren [22] But on this subject we get only a lot of blather and obfuscation from the people who have power, and nothing like a clear, consistent line of action, and we keep on piling up environmental problems that our grandchildren will have to live with. Attempts to resolve the environmental issue consist of struggles and compromises between different factions, some of which are ascendant at one moment, others at another moment. The line of struggle changes with the shifting currents of public opinion. This is not a rational process, or is it one that is likely to lead to a timely and successful solution to the problem. Major social problems, if they get “solved” at all, are rarely or never solved through any rational, comprehensive plan. They just work themselves out through a process in which various competing groups pursing their own usually short-term self-interest [23] arrive (mainly by luck) at some more or less stable modus vivendi. In fact, the principles we formulated in paragraphs 100-106 make it seem doubtful that rational, long-term social planning can EVER be successful.
modus vivendi = ① a temporary accommodation of a disagreement between parties pending a permanent settlement. ② a manner of living that reflects the person's values and attitudes.

ne plus ultra

the studies are the ne plus ultra of romantic rhetoric and grandiloquence.
ne plus ultra = The uttermost point to which one can go or attain; the highest point or degree.

esprit de corps

The students in Sewell's class learn the memory basics — keeping date books and to-do lists, developing first-letter mnemonics. A shopping list that includes lettuce, tomatoes and dishwashing liquid, for example, may be abbreviated LTD, or lots to do. I found the esprit de corps of the class a lot more motivating than hunching over a website by myself.
The Battle to Save Your Memory By Jeffrey Kluger. @ http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,46477,00.html
esprit de corps = the spirit of a group that makes the members want the group to succeed.

ménage à trois

Nina Hartley (she lives in a ménage à trois) with a guy and another woman and refers to her more plebeian self as Monica
ménage à trois = household for three; an arrangement where a married couple and a lover of one of them live together while sharing sexual relations. Ménage à trois

joie de vivre

you kind of lose whatever joie de vivre you were suppose to be getting from your runner's high.
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joie de vivre = Hearty or carefree enjoyment of life. (AHD)

persona non grata

On June 30, after conducting its own investigation of the attack, the USFSA stripped Harding of her 1994 title and banned her for life from participating in sanctioned events and becoming a sanctioned coach. The USFSA concluded that Harding knew about the attack before it happened and displayed “a clear disregard for fairness, good sportsmanship and ethical behavior.” As part of her plea deal, she had already resigned from the USFSA and given up her spot on the team slated to take part in that year's world championships. Although the USFSA has no control over professional skating events, Harding was also persona non grata on the pro circuit because few skaters and promoters would work with her. Consequently, Harding did not herself benefit from the pro skating boom that ensued in the aftermath of the scandal.
persona non grata = a person who for some reason is not wanted or welcome. Persona non grata

beau monde

he considered her empty and much too beau monde.
beau monde = The world of fashionable society. (AHD)

sine qua non

The TeX typesetting lanugage…to be the sine qua non of technical typesetting, is …
sine qua non = a prerequisite. Sine qua non

bravura

Black Swan has received widespread acclaim from film critics. Review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes reports that 88% of 254 critics have given the film a positive review, holding an average score of 8.2/10 with particular praise for Portman's performance. According to the website, the film's critical consensus is, “Bracingly intense, passionate, and wildly melodramatic, Black Swan glides on Darren Aronofsky's bold direction – and a bravura performance from Natalie Portman.”
Black Swan (film),
bravura = Brilliant technique or style in performance. (AHD)

blasé

The drinkers seems more blasé than ever about the consequences.
?
blasé = uninterested because of frequent exposure or indulgence.

mélange

The science essay is a strange, error-filled mélange of pseudoscience, the Egyptian religion Ma'at and other fanciful ideas, written by Hunter Adams, a former environmental technician at Argonne National Laboratories in Illinois. Yet despite the essay's bizarre claims, it has been accepted not only by Afrocentric extremists but also by apparently scientifically illiterate school boards.
Teaching Reverse Racism By Leon Jaroff et al. @ http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,980453,00.html
mélange = A mixture; a medley.

ad hominem

Debaters should avoid ad hominem arguments that question their opponents' motives.
AHD.
ad hominem = Appealing to personal considerations rather than to logic or reason: Debaters should avoid ad hominem arguments that question their opponents' motives. (AHD)

pro forma

in my family, the act of gifts giving on Christmas is considered as pro forma and thus very much looked down.
Xah Lee
pro forma = as a formality only; Done merely to get rid of a duty; perfunctory.

alma mater

alma mater of Harvard University
alma mater = A college or seminary where one is educated.

in toto

recommendations that were adopted in toto.
in toto = Totally; altogether.

lingua franca

Soccer, the lingua franca of sports everywhere else in the world, was finally - on tongues in the U.S. as the cup made its Stateside debut. And even if only a few in this country were fluent enough to know a penalty shot from a shootout, Americans filled up stadiums to watch. Now, even soccer-illiterate Yankees know how to say it: Gooooooaaaal !!!
stateside = Of or in the continental United States.
lingua franca = a common language used by speakers of different languages.

sui generis

Those who knew her or watched her from afar groped for the words that could explain their feeling of loss. A friend of hers said, with a soft, sad voice, that what we're losing is what we long for: the old idea of being cultivated. “She had this complex, colorful mind, she loved a turn of phrase. She didn't grow up in front of the TV set, but reading the classics and thinking about them and having thoughts about history. Oh,” he said, “we're losing her kind.”

I echoed the sentiment to another of her friends, who cut me off. “She wasn't a kind, she was sui generis.” And so she was.
America's First Lady By Peggy Noonan. @ http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,980793,00.html
sui generis = constituting a class of its own; unique. sui generis

démodé

Remember when popular movies had women in them? In 1994's top films, the ladies were lucky if the guys let them even drive a bus. The typical female role was a captive or a pinup, wounded faun (Forrest Gump) or ditsy wife (True Lies). For its Best Actress prize, the New York Film Critics had to go to a TV movie (The Last Seduction's Linda Fiorentino). Affirmative action is démodé these days, but Hollywood needs some spur to bring women into full partnership with the Toms and Arnolds and Simbas.
The Best Cinema of 1994 By Time Mag. @ http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,982058-2,00.html
ditsy = Eccentric or scatterbrained. (AHD)
démodé = out of fashion.

de rigueur

IEEE1394, also called FireWire, is finally catching on in the PC world. A high speed serial standard that supports transfer rates up to a blistering 400 Mbps (50 MB/s), IEEE1394 is already de rigueur in the digital video and audio world.
tomshardware.com, 1999

prima facie

As far as the practical worth of LISP to me as a person, the search engine at www.dice.com pretty much tells the whole story:

C++: 48,000 ads
Java: 38,000 ads
LISP: 62 ads

Look! Prima facie evidence of Lisp's superiority!

2000-10-19, comp.lang.lisp newsgroup Source groups.google.com
see also prima facie

terra incognita

Ordinarily technology changes fast. But programming languages are different: programming languages are not just technology, but what programmers think in. They're half technology and half religion.[6] And so the median language, meaning whatever language the median programmer uses, moves as slow as an iceberg. Garbage collection, introduced by Lisp in about 1960, is now widely considered to be a good thing. Runtime typing, ditto, is growing in popularity. Lexical closures, introduced by Lisp in the early 1970s, are now, just barely, on the radar screen. Macros, introduced by Lisp in the mid 1960s, are still terra incognita.
Beating the Averages By Paul Graham. @ http://www.paulgraham.com/avg.html

femme fatale

By almost any measure, it was the most damaging virus ever, with at least three times the byte — as more than one punster put it — of Melissa, last year's electronic femme fatale.
Attack Of The Love Bug By Lev Grossman. @ http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101000515-44514,00.html

deus ex machina

At the very end of the first movie, Neo gets his super-powers. At that point, the first movie started getting uninteresting, because I said to myself “well, now deus ex machina will repeatedly make everything merely a dream”
Perl programing language expert Randal Schwartz's comment on movie Matrix Roloaded. 2003-05 @ http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=64283&cid=5962677

recherché

Whoa! Thanks, Xah. Truly recherché beauties, the crème de la crème! Heck, they almost make homo sapiens seem like an attractive species. ☺
philosopher friend Paul Kiesow, exclaimed upon receiving photos of leggy women.
recherché = Sought out with care; choice. Hence: of rare quality, elegance, or attractiveness; peculiar and refined in kind. The word came from obsolete French “recerche”, meaning, to search, research.

annus mirabilis

It was an “annus mirabilis,” a year of marvels. For no particular reason, 1993 was the best year since the 1970s for new motion pictures. One after another they arrived, especially in the autumn, great and good movies of all sorts, from the epic to the intimate, from thrillers to biopics, all with that special grace that leaves you thankful for the movies.

nom de plume

Pascal [Blaise] sometimes wrote under the nom de plume of Lovis de Montalte, or its anagram, Amos Dettonville.
An Introduction to the History of Mathematics By Howard Whitley Eves. Buy at amazon
On mathematician Blaise Pascal (1623 – 1662)

passé

that's passé

protégé

As a protégé of Sony founder Akio Morita, he …
?

vis-à-vis

Our Empire, for the purpose of self-defense and self-preservation, will complete preparations for war … [and is] … resolved to go to war with the United States, Great Britain, and the French if necessary. Our Empire will concurrently take all possible diplomatic measures vis-à-vis the United States and Great Britain, and thereby endeavor to obtain our objectives … In the event that there is no prospect of our demands being met by the first ten days of October through the diplomatic negotiations mentioned above, we will immediately decide to commence hostilities against the United States, Britain and the French.

hoi polloi

This modern contempt for the “general audience” [books] is quite beyond me. If you have no use for the hoi polloi (or their artifacts), just read journals.
CompuServe post by Mark Warrian, ≈1991

Quid pro quo

Quid pro quo – I tell you things, you tell me things. Not about this case, though. About yourself. Quid pro quo. Yes or no?.
Dialogue from the movie Silence of the Lamb