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18 Foreign Words That Sound Rude in English

You may not want to use these words in polite company until you know what they mean.

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This is a Hawaiian word for a small silvery fish found in tropical waters.

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Colonial leader Captain John Smith used this word in his journal in 1606. Native American tribes in Virginia used the term to describe a flying squirrel.

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Named for a village in Russia, aktashite is a term for a rare mineral composed of arsenic, copper, and mercury. Don’t miss these 15 words that used to mean completely different things.

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A Spanish word for thrashing or caning the feet, which dates back to the sixteenth century.

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Far from a derogatory term, this French word means doe.

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A Tudor dictionary from 1552 defines this word as someone who is a gossip or a blabbermouth. Find out 70 words and phrases you’re probably using wrong.

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This French word means seashell.

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This is the word for a small antelope from Africa that’s known for its elongated snout.

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This German word means a trip or drive.

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An Arabic word for a violent sandstorm in the desert.

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A Chinese term for a lottery that was popular in the nineteenth century.

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In French, this term isn’t rude, it’s cute. The word means seal.

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The name for an oil that comes from an Indian beech tree and is used to treat skin ailments. Don’t miss these 22 words and phrases that originated in the military.

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A French term that originated in Nice that translates as “salted fish.” It’s a condiment made from pureed anchovies, olive oil, garlic, peppers, and herbs.

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This Dutch term means a dot or a spot. Find out 12 surprisingly offensive words you need to stop using.

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This Hebrew term comes from Northeast Africa and the Middle East, where it refers to a type of acacia tree.

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This Dutch word translates into a treat: whipped cream.

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In German, this term isn’t about getting sick, it’s used by pontificators. The word means “whereby.”

Jen McCaffery
Jen McCaffery covers money, tech, products, health and safety for Reader's Digest and other publications and websites. When she’s not writing or editing, she’s growing veggies or trying to figure out the way home from assorted trails.