Foreign Language Terms and Phrases from The Adventures of Augie March

Alpargata: a canvas shoe with a rope sole; espadrille (Spanish)

Au pied du mur: to have one’s back up to the wall (French)

Bonne à tout faire: “general help;” a servant (French)

Bozhe moy!: my God, my goodness! (Russian)

Culebras: snakes (Spanish)

Foco rojo: red light; brothel (Spanish)

“Gedenk, Augie, wenn ich bin todt.”: “Remember, Augie, when I am dead.” (Yiddish/German)

Inter pares: among their peers; among those of equal rank (Latin)

Integer vitae: innocent (Latin)

Jehudim: Jewish people (Hebrew)

Knacker: person who buys and slaughters old livestock to sell the meat and hide (British slang)

Lacrimae rerum: “the tears for things,” from Virgil’s The Aeneid (Latin)

Mein kind!: my child! (German)

Memento mori: remember that you must die (Latin)

Meshuggah: crazy (Yiddish)

Nolens volens: willing or not; willy-nilly (Latin)

Nota bene: abbreviated as N.B., meaning to take note or observe carefully (Italian)

Rebozo: long scarf for covering the head and shoulders or as a sling for holding a baby, worn by Mexican women (Spanish)

Säufer: boozer or drunkard (German)

Sursum corda: lift up your hearts (Latin)

Wehtig: melancholy, wistful, nostalgic (German)

Zócalo: main square, plaza (Spanish)


  • Branyon, Richard A. Latin Phrases & Quotations. Hippocrene Books, 1997.
  • Gedenk Movement.
  • Integer vitae.”
  • Italian-English Dictionary = Dizionario Inglese-Italiano. Berlitz, 1994.
  • Knacker.” The Free Dictionary.
  • Lacrimae rerum.” Merriam-Webster.
  • Memento mori.”
  • Oxford Learner’s German Dictionary. Oxford University Press, 2009.
  • Pons Collins Grosswörterbuch für Experten und Universität: Deutsch-Englisch, Englisch-Deutsch. Klett; Collins, 1999.
  • Rebozo.” The Free Dictionary.
  • Reverso Online Dictionary French-English/English-French.
  • Le Robert & Collins Senior. HarperCollins; Dictionnaires Le Robert, 2005.
  • SpanishDict.
  • Webster’s Online Dictionary.
  • “What Is ‘Jewish?’ 1. Is It a Religion?.” Israel News.
  • Wheeler, Marcus and Boris Unbegaun, editors. The Oxford Russian Dictionary/English-Russian. Oxford University Press, 1995.
  • Yiddish Dictionary. 2008.

Content last updated: October 31, 2011

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