This week, I went online to find the meanings of Latin and French phrases that one often comes across in the English language. For good measure, I have included a crash course in ‘Kasi Lingo’ for those who need it. You can thank me by sharing this post and following the blog on Twitter and Facebook.


à la carte “on the menu” restaurant menus
avant-garde military term meaning “first to attack” the side of a Mercedes Benz vehicle, relates to cutting-edge innovation.
café au lait “coffee with milk” coffee shops give it a lovely French name so they can charge you more for it.
carte blanche “white card”, unbiased, unlimited authority Sunday television show exposing scandals.
eau de toilette “toilet water”, also translates to grooming water can of deodorant
en route “on the way” on Facebook, when a Jo’burger goes to Durbs, they want other Jo’burgers to know that they are “en route” to the beach so that will be their status update for the day.
Grand Prix “Grand Prize” Ladies, next time your man carries on about watching the Grand Prix instead of helping with the chores, ask him what it means.
Madame used to address or as title for women bad letters often start with “Dear Sir/Madam”.
Nouveau “new or up-to-date” Cinema Nouveau in Rosebank.
Voyeur “someone who sees”, peeping tom somewhere out there, there is a porn video called: “Voyeur’s Naked Neighbourhood Girls”.


ad hoc “to this” or “for this”, for a specific purpose the copier is specifically for printing copies of documents, not ass.
affidavit “to swear an oath” people have faith that the information on the affidavit is true.
carpe diem “seize the day” Alcohol adverts with beautiful women holding colourful cocktails on sandy beaches and a handsome, topless barman wearing the biggest smile you’ve ever seen.
cave canem “beware of the dog” gates behind which dogs run free.
coitus interruptus “interrupted congress” people often make the mistake of thinking the phrase refers to ‘sex’ but it actually means ‘pulling out before ejaculation’. The Big Bang Theory’s, Sheldon Cooper refers to sex as “coitus”.
cum laude “with praise”, also note that “magna cum laude” and “summa cum laude” means “with greater honours” Graduation Ceremonies.
ex gratia “from kindness” doing someone a favour and acting out of kindness insurance policy documents may have this phrase. It means that in some special occasions, the company will pay out a claim even though they normally wouldn’t, as a favour to good clients in extraordinary circumstances.
in vitro “in glass” referring to test tubes and such childless couples often visit a specialist about in-vitro fertilization.
Magna Carta “Great Charter” documents of immense importance which show correspondence between Pope Innocent III, King John of England and English leaders The new Jay-Z album, Magna Carta… Holy Grail.
modus operandi “method of operating”, “M.O.” CSI, when they identify the habits of a suspect when committing a crime.
pro bono publico “for the public good”, charity work when the lawyers represent a person for free.
quorum “of whom”, required number FIFA rules, a team in the PSL must field 11 registered players at the start of each match for the game to be valid.


“ah never” It will never happen, I never do that, it can’t be done, you’re lying, etc.
“skeem” Friends, people you have something in common with e.g. “i-skeem sama-Carvela” means those who like to wear those shoes.
“ung’khipha ebantwini” The direct translation is “you take me out of the people” but it really means “you embarrass me”.
“s’khokho” The direct translation is “the burnt layer of food at the bottom of the pot” but on the street, it’s the name by which people who are the ish, the “in-thing” go by. Think “Top Dog”.
“ama-skoppers” Candy-flavoured popcorn.
“umaBhebeza” Depending on the context, it can mean any girl or in particular, one’s own girlfriend.
“push’i’passion” Refers to the dream chase, “pushing something you are passionate about” or getting up close and touchy with your lover.
“walkie-talkie” Heads and feet of animals sold as snacks “ekasi”, which takes us to our next word…
“ekasi” The township.
“AmaKhosi” This is the team with the most cup and championship wins in the country, Kaizer Chiefs. “AmaKhosi” is isiZulu for ‘Chiefs’. This is one of those teams that generally keeps the fans happy.

“But wait, there’s more.” So, there you are writing about Beyoncé and it starts out well B-e-y-o-n-c-… and then, the bus stops. Don’t get off. The ‘é’ need not bring about a break in the typing. Here are some useful shortcuts for a Windows device. Hold the ‘Alt’ key while pressing the series of numbers, release and character will appear on-screen.

á Alt 160
í Alt 161
ó Alt 162
ú Alt 163
ñ Alt 164
Ñ Alt 165
¿ Alt 168
é Alt 130
¡ Alt 173
ü Alt 129

In case you forget these number combinations, go to the ‘Insert’ tab on the Word Document and select ‘Symbols’ on the top right corner of the page as shown below.

To add symbols on a document, follow the directions on the blog. - image - screen grab
To add symbols on a document, follow the directions on the blog. – image – screen grab

I hope you find this useful. Check out the blog on Twitter and Facebook and make sure you never miss out on anything. See you next week.

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