7 Chinese Loanwords to expand your vocabulary

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Feng shui

Feng shui is the Chinese art of creating harmonious surroundings that enhance the balance of yin and yang, or negative and positive forces in the universe. This term comes from the Chinese words literally meaning “wind” and “water.” Architects and designers have been using the principles of feng shui to help situate buildings and graves and arrange rooms since ancient times, though the word did not enter English until the late 1700s.

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Qi

Scrabble players are sure to recognize the term qi but are less likely to know its meaning. In Chinese philosophy this term refers to vital energies within all living things in the form of breath and bodily fluids. It’s thought that a balance of qi is essential to maintain good health. It literally translates to “breath” and is believed to be regulated by acupuncture.

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Gung-ho

Gung-ho was introduced into English in 1942 via US Marine officer Evans F. Carlson, who had previously spent time in China. Carlson used this term, which literally translates to “work together,” to lift the morale of the military men he led. These men were often referred to as the “Gung Ho Battalion.”

Words 4-7 will be up in a following post later! Hope you enjoy!
All My Best,
Jill
🙂

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