In Other Words

An Illustrated Miscellany of the World's Most Intriguing Words and Phrases


A colourfully illustrated collection of more than ninety untranslatable words and phrases and the unique insights they offer into the cultures they come from.


ISBN: 9781906761882 Categories: ,

Christopher J. Moore


‘It is a book that leaves you musing long after reading… a true celebration of the diversity of language and an important reminder of the quirks and obscurities in the world’s varying tongues’ – Tori Lillie, Babel Magazine

Ever racked your brain for a word you’re convinced should exist, yet is inexplicably absent from the dictionary? All languages have their limitations-should English fall short, the expression may lie elsewhere. That’s where this book comes in: a quirky, international lexicon of linguistic gems that capture cultural untranslatables with satisfying precision.

Take for example the Japanese yoko meshi, “a meal eaten sideways,” describing the experience of trying to communicate in an alien tongue, or mono-no-aware, the appreciation of life’s sadness. From the distinctive coziness of the Danish hygge, to the unrestrained dis of the Mayan bol (“in-laws” and “stupidity”), to the profound collectivism of the Zulu concept of ubuntu (roughly, “I AM because WE ARE”), these mots justes are grouped according to language and prefaced with insightful overviews of the relevant cultures by linguist Christopher J. Moore.

Embellished with 20 entertaining new untranslatable words and phrases and 90 characterful color illustrations by Lan Truong, and with a foreword by Simon Winchester, In Other Words is amusing, profound, and unputdownable–a gorgeously packaged gift book to entertain even the most well-versed polyglot with marvels of language from around the world.

Additional information

Weight 325 g
Dimensions 14.8 x 19.1 cm
Publisher name Modern Books
Publication date 1 May 2018
Number of pages 128
Format Hardback
Contributors Foreword by Simon Winchester
Dimensions 14.8 x 19.1 cm
Weight 325 g


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Christopher J. Moore holds degrees from Oxford and Edinburgh in modern languages and applied linguistics. He is an author, translator and editor of both adult and children's books. He is the author of the award-winning Ishtar and Tammuz and How to Speak Brit. He spends most of his time in Spain and England but still enjoys roving around Europe.

Simon Winchester is the acclaimed author of The Perfectionists and numerous New York Times bestsellers, including The Professor and the Madman, The Men Who United the States and Krakatoa. In 2006, he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.

Lan Truong is an illustrator based in Portland, Oregon. Her work is influenced by vintage matchbox labels and posters, and art from around the world.