Chinese & Korean Words
Asian loan words in English
by Ann-Marie Imbornoni
Amoy (eastern China)
- pekoe, a type of tea.
- tea, originally pronounced like "tay," can be traced to Dutch thee, from Malay and Amoy.
Cantonese (southern China, Hong Kong)
- bok choy, meaning "white vegetable."
- chop chop, means "hurried."
- chop suey, from a word meaning "miscellaneous bits."
- chow, related to chop in chop suey, from a word meaning "food, miscellany."
- chow chow, means "doggie."
- ketchup, from a word meaning "tomato sauce."
- kumquat, a small citrus fruit.
- typhoon, from the words for "great wind."
- wok, meaning "cauldron."
- yen, meaning a "yearning" or "strong desire."
Mandarin (Beijing, China; official national standard)
- gung ho, a motto used by the Chinese Industrial Cooperative Society, from words meaning "work together." It was picked up by U.S. Marines during World War II.
- kow-tow, from words meaning "to knock [one's] head."
- kung fu, from gong fu, meaning "skill, art."
- tae kwon do, meaning "trample-fist-way."
Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.