Adam Jacot de Boinod

Adam Jacot di Boinod (born 1960) is a British author, notable for his works about unusual words, such as his last name. Usually known as Jacot, he has written three books, the first two (The Meaning of Tingo and Toujours Tingo) looking at words which have no equivalent in the English language, and his latest book (The Wonder of Whiffling) which reveals unusual words in English.

Early lifeEdit

Jacot was educated at Harrow School,[1] before obtaining a degree from Cambridge University (MA).


Jacot worked on the first series of the television panel game QI. His research on the show involved him reading an entire Albanian language dictionary and noting down any words which he found interesting. He noted that there are 27 different words for moustaches and 27 words for eyebrows in Albanian, including, "vetullan" ("very bushy eyebrows"), "vetullor" ("slightly arched eyebrows") and "vetullosh" ("very thick eyebrows"). There was also a question asking the meaning of the word "vetullushe", which was claimed to be "a goat with brown eyebrows".[1][2][3]

After leaving QI, Jacot began an investigation into other languages, examining 280 dictionaries and 140 websites.[4] This led to the creation of his first book in 2005, The Meaning of Tingo, a book featuring words which have no equivalent in the English language, "tingo" being a word from the Pascuense language of Easter Island meaning, "to borrow things from a friend's house, one by one, until there's nothing left".[5] He then wrote a sequel entitled Toujours Tingo in 2007. In 2009, Jacot wrote The Wonder of Whiffling, a book about unusual words in English, the word "whiffling" having several meanings, including "one who examined candidates for degrees… an officer who cleared the way for a procession, as well as being the name of the man with the whip in Morris dancing."[6]

Adam is also occasionally involved with "The Inflectionist" (magazine), and became a guest writer in early 2013.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b John Lloyd and John Mitchinson. QI – The Complete First Series: "Factoids" (Audio Commentary) (DVD). BBC and 2entertain.
  2. ^ "Albania". QI. Season 1. Episode 8. 30 October 2009.
  3. ^ Jacot de Boinod, Adam Jacot (2005). The Meaning of Tingo. London: Penguin Books. pp. 19–20. ISBN 0-14-102198-5.
  4. ^ Jacot de Boinod, p. ii
  5. ^ Jacot de Boinod, p. 95
  6. ^ de Boinod, Adam Jacot (2009). The Wonder of Whiffling. London: Penguin Books. pp. ix.

External linksEdit