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Some foreign words have made it to most English dictionaries. Like tempura.

If a foreign word, like mapo from mapo tofu, doesn't show up in English dictionaries (or in very few), is it better to write it in italics (like I just did)?

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If you're following APA style, you would italicize the first occurrence of a foreign word that doesn't show up in the dictionary. According to the APA blog:

[U]se italics for the following cases:
First use of words, phrases, or abbreviations from another language when readers may not be familiar with them; however, if the term appears in a dictionary for the language in which you are writing, do not italicize it

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