My German colleagues use the word 'quasi' . I wanted to use that word in my conversation but I am still confused about the usage of the word and grammar.
From my experience this is in most cases just a filler word (expletive) and does not contribute to the meaning similar to you know in English.
The user wins some time to think about what should follow later in that sentence while speaking. As additional benefit the resulting sentence sounds more sophisticated, without much justification.
quasi means „sozusagen“, „gewissermassen“:
English: in other words ...
This is an adverb describing e.g. the style how a tune may be played:
Google translates it with "so to say", but i think in use I would rather translate it with "practically", in the usage of "those two things are practically the same". This would translate to "Diese zwei Dinge sind quasi (praktisch/sozusagen) dasselbe."
It is mostly used in cases when things are so similar that there is near to no difference between them "Meine Art zu laufen ist quasi rennen" - "My way of walking is 'practically' running" (because I'm a very fast walker).
quasi is of latin origin and means "in a way, to some extent, quasi, allegedly". Used as a prefix in compounds it often means "nearly, almost" (similar to its spanish cognate casi). A good example for this is the word Quasivertrag (quasi-contract), a word which describes a legal relation of two parties which does not emerge of a mutual declaration of will (as a contract would need to), but comes with similar (or even equal) legal responsibilities as a contract.
However, since its meaning is rather weak, it is used by some people as a mere filling word. This stems from the fact, that quasi can be used in any case the speaker is not able or not willing to provide a more accurate description using a more telling adjective.