Skip to main content

In Other Words – A Great Book for Logophiles (People Who Love Words)

By January 26, 2005August 10th, 2020No Comments
book cover, In Other Words, Christopher J. Moore author

I just purchased Christopher J. Moore’s book, “In Other Words: A Language Lover’s Guide to the Most Intriguing Words Around the World.” (Amazon affiliate link).

My purchased was inspired by the National Public Radio (NPR) interview, “Translating the Untranslatable.”

Then… I bought over a dozen more copies and started giving them out in my workshops as prizes for people who volunteered, said something funny, shared an interesting story, and so forth.

If you love words and language, you will love this book.

From the In Other Words’ book jacket:

“Literally a thesaurus–of linguistic marvels…the understanding of tongues other than our own offers us a chance to come to a better understanding of peoples other than ourselves–an understanding that can only be for the betterment of us all.”

If you are lover of culture, a logophile (person who loves words), and all that is international, this is a great read and a great gift.

Here are some of my favorites from “In Other Words.”

Guan xi

[noun, Mandarin Chinese, page 84]
“This is one of the essential ways of getting things done in a traditional Chinese society. To build up good guan xi, you do things for people such as give them gifts, take them to dinner, or grant favors. Conversely, you can also ‘use up’ your guan xi with some by calling favors owed.” {Editor’s Note: this is word that I use in my business to identify an approach and way of life to create long-term and lasting relationships. It is a metaphor for networking and building business friendships–establishing a foundation of trust and credibility and growing it over time.}

Il a le cul bordé de nouilles

[idiom, French, page 20]: “His backside is fringed with noodles.” This idiom describes someone who is incredibly lucky.


[noun, Japanese, page 87]:

“…Taken literally meshi means ‘boiled rice’ and yoko means ‘horizontal,’ so combined you get a ‘meal eaten sideways.’ This is how the Japanese define the peculiar stress induced by speaking a foreign language: yoko is a humorous reference to the fact that Japanese is normally written vertically, whereas most foreign languages are written horizontally.”


[adjective, Spanish, page 34]

“This wonderful word captures an entire world of passion, energy, and artistic excellence.”


[verb, Yiddish, page 52]

“A good schmooze is when you connect with others in a meaningful and authentic way, perhaps when you least expect it.”


[noun,  Czech, page 43]

“…The saying Jsem v pohod? and translates as ‘I’m in pohoda.’…it’s a pain-free, trouble-free state that we should all like to share in.”


[verb, Dutch, page 32]

“A most useful and attractive verb meaning ‘to walk in the wind for fun.’”


[adverb, adjective, non, Swedish, page 59]

“It refers an undefined state between extremes, such as ‘not too much, not too little,” or ‘just right.’”

Se virar

[verb, Portuguese, page 39]

“From Brazilian Portuguese, this literally means ‘to empty.’ It is used to describe when you try do something and you don’t have enough knowledge to complete the task.”


[noun, Arabic, page 69]

“Arabic has no word for ‘compromise’ in the sense of reaching an arrangement via struggle and disagreement. But a much happier concept, taraadin, exists in Arabic. It implies a happy solution for everyone, an ‘I win, you win.’”


[noun, Italian, page 31]

“This is a bore who ‘buttonholes’ you and tells you long tales of woe. You long to escape from an attaccabottone, but somehow it’s always difficult to get away.”

Espirit de l’escalier

[idiom, French, page 21]

“A witty remark that occurs to you too late, literally on the way down the stairs.”


  • Onomatopoeia – A Hoot Of A Song From Todd Rundgren  (read)
  • Effective Alliteration With HBR Article On 4C’s Of Leadership  (read)
  • Epizeuxis – Increase Impact With This Word Repetition  (read)
  • Avoid The Word “Anxious”  (read)
  • Epanalepsis – Be More Memorable, Have More Impact  (read)
  • All articles on language + words  (go)
  • All articles on figures of speech  (go)

Content Updated: 2017
Photography Source:  DepositPhotos
#chiefstoryteller #language #words #books #culture

Ira Koretsky

Ira Koretsky has built The Chief Storyteller® into one of the most recognized names in communication, especially business storytelling. He has delivered over 500 keynote presentations and workshops in nearly a dozen countries, in more than one hundred cities, across 30 plus industries. His specialties are simplifying the complex and communicating when the stakes are high. He is also an adjunct professor in public speaking and storytelling at the University of Maryland's Business School. With over 25 years of experience, he is a sought-after storytelling coach, global speaker, trainer, consultant, communication coach, and public speaking coach.