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Re: Vis-à-vis

Posted by R. Berg on November 20, 2001

In Reply to: Re: Vis-à-vis posted by Bob on November 20, 2001

: : : : "Vis a vis" I think it's a French phrase. But I've heard Americans use it many times.

: : : Literally French. "Face to face." That is, directly compared with.

: : : But... in such widespread use in English-speaking countries, for so long... when is it no longer French? This phrase would be on the cusp of adoption. I suspect in 40 or 50 years, it will be English.

: : It wasn't marked as foreign in Webster's Second Unabridged .
: But the bigger tip-off might be the accent over the a. Still Frenchified. When the accent falls, it will have really taken root.

At that stage, we'll watch for atrophy and eventual disappearance of the hyphens--a definitive sign of incorporation. (Anyway, the absence of the mark || in Webster means you needn't italicize the word.)

See also - other French phrases in English.