The English language is renowned for - if nothing else - being a hussy when it comes to appropriating words from other languages.
In his new book, Adam Jacot de Boinod, raises the curtains to display the dazzling array of words that we should have stolen from other languages, but didn’t.
However, it’s not too late: a small platter of words from this most excellent book, The Meaning of Tingo and Other Extraordinary Words from Around the World, to assist with your festive season social chatter. You’ll wonder how you ever managed without them.
Narachastra prayoga (Sanskrit) – men who worship their own sex organ
Koro (Japanese) – the hysterical belief that one’s penis is shrinking into one’s body
Zakilpistola (Basque) – a sufferer from premature ejaculation (literally, pistol prick)
Menggernumut (Indonesian) – to approach somebody quietly in the night for sex
Neko-necko (Indonesian) – one who has a creative idea that only makes things worse
Wamadat (Persian) – the intense head of a sultry night
Torschlusspanik (German) – the fear of diminishing opportunities as one gets older
Termangu-mangu (Indonesian) – sad and not sure what to do
Mukamuka (Japanese) – so angry one feels like throwing up
Sekaseka (Zambian) – to laugh without reason
Nedovtipa (Czech) – one who finds it difficult to take a hint
Aka’aka’a (Hawaiian) – skin peeling or falling off after either sunburn or heavy drinking
Tingo (Pascuense) – to borrow things from a friend’s house, one by one, until there’s nothing left
Egkoniomai (Ancient Greek) – to sprinkle sand over oneself
I can't tell you how many times in my life that I needed "egkoniomai" in my vocabulary, or how often I wish I'd had "neko-necko" at the tip of my tongue, and with which to flatter any number of work associates.
But really, picking any favorites is too difficult.