vis-à-vis – Opus Magnum
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vis-à-vis

Jargon Genesis, Newsroom

Jargon Genesis: “Vis-à-vis”

Ah, the French. How we love to borrow from their language! À la carte, à la mode, à propos, art déco, au gratin, au jus, au naturel, blonde, bon appétit, bon voyage, carte blanche, chic, crème brûlée (yum!), cuisine, déjà vu, du jour, encore, en masse, en route, faux pas, fiancé, genre, hors d’oeuvre, laissez-faire, matinée, oh là là (generally misspelled and mispronounced in English), papier mâché, passé, petite, potpourri, protégé, rendez-vous, risqué, rouge, sans, souvenir, soiree, toilette, et cetera (not French)!

I’m not sure why we choose French words when we have perfectly good English ones. “I would like some burnt cream with coffee, please.”

Why do we get all fancy and say, “I’ll take a crème brûlée and cappuccino, please?”

I suppose it is just a reality of our vernacular, so today let’s discuss another adopted term that is oft used in business discussions, vis-à-vis. To better equip you to use this term, let’s first ensure you have the correct pronunciation, /viz.a′ vi/ (hear it pronounced). Practice out loud a few times, so it rolls off your tongue in a natural manner. This will ensure the optimal effect when you next state, “Let’s consider our new strategy vis-à-vis the old.” Continue Reading