Specializations > Historical Linguistics

Is there a word for loan words that have been "returned"?


Take the French word "boeuf". That was loaned into English as "beef", which became "roast beef", which was loaned back into French as "rosbif", which was then reloaned back into English as "rosbifs". Personally I think, now that the ball is in our court, we should lob it back. How about "rosbifing" v. the act of turning any complaint, no matter how trivial, into an attack on the French.

this happens again and again with Japanese: karaoke, salaryman, waifu, anime, cosplay, aidoru.

Another one is "bag", which is derived from the Norse "baggi" but has been readopted into Norwegian.

But my personal favourite is "bagarap", from the Papuan language Tok Pisin, which is pronounced "bugger up" and means just that, only in a more general context of "bad" or "broken". It's not uncommon to hear Australians use the phrase "gone buggerup" in conversation these days.

The only word I know is R├╝ckwanderer.

Related: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wanderwort
But that has the sense of spreading into many languages, via many languages, so your term is probably better here. I think I may have heard "returned loan" or something like that (maybe with "returnee"?), but I don't remember specifically. Interestingly these often make cognate loans, in the sense that there may still be a cognate in the language and the returnee now forms a pair. An interesting example, among others, is bank and bench.


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