We posted a couple of months ago about a wonderful little book by Adam Jacot de Boinod which explores “extraordinary words from around the world.” I had only seen a review of The Meaning of Tingo at the time, however, and promised to report back once I had book in hand.
Well, I’m happy to report that the book has lived up to expectations. I was worried that it might be no different than other “funny word” books that are out there but I was wrong. There is a little bit of worthless trivia filler, but otherwise The Meaning of Tingo is a hilarious read that “draws from the collective wisdom of more than 280 languages.”
The book is organized into handy chapters by topics such as “Falling in Love” and “Eating and Drinking.” A travel section would be redundant since all the words featured are indeed foreign in origin. I have, however, taken the liberty of listing some of my favorites below which may, or may not come in handy on your next trip abroad.
Seigneur-terrasse (French) “One who spends too much time but little money in a café”
Igunaujannguaq (Inuit) “Frozen walrus carcass”
Sunasorpok (Inuit) “To eat the remains of others’ food”
Kejeblos (Indonesian) “To fall into a hole by accident”
Fisselig (German) “Flustered to the point of incompetence”
Desortijarse (Caribbean Spanish) “To return the engagement ring”