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calque Syllabification: calque

Definition of calque in English:


another term for loan translation.
Example sentences
  • A calque or loan-translation is a borrowing of a compound word from another language where each component is translated into native words and then joined together.
  • In either case, English-speakers may have adopted the phrase via a direct, word-for-word translation of the German idiom; linguists call this a calque.
  • So ‘butt naked’ would be a straightforward calque of a common expression whose word for ‘butt’ had dropped out of the language.


(be calqued on) Back to top  
Originate or function as a loan translation of.
Example sentences
  • Besides, even when the new meanings of existing words were calqued on cognate words in other languages.
  • The most plausible explanation of its origin seems to be that it came in via American English, calqued on German ‘hoffentlich’.
  • He is aware that the French in the above poem is purposefully calqued on English, rather than based on standard French.


1930s: from French, literally 'copy, tracing', from calquer 'to trace', via Italian from Latin calcare 'to tread'.

Words that rhyme with calque

Definition of calque in:
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