In the Czech Republic, prozvonit is the word for calling somebody but deliberately hanging up before they can answer, in the hope that they will call you back and thus foot the bill for the call. In other words, douche reverse charges for cheapskates.
We're not sure what it says about Czech culture that scamming your friends out of 75 cents is a common enough pastime that it needs its own particular word. Is the economy that bad there? Or are phone calls just way more expensive? Do they ever get into a hilarious tug of war with each party calling each other back, over and over, quickly hanging up before the other can answer? Is it like a prank there, or are they quietly weeping the whole time?
Speaking of which ...
ColorBlind Images/Blend Images/Getty Images
Means: To slowly steal everything your neighbor owns by "borrowing" it.
Despite what you might have learned from pop culture, Easter Island isn't just some barren island devoid of anything but a bunch of giant stone heads that aliens put there. There is an indigenous population, with its own culture and language. For a quick yet revealing insight into that culture, we have the word tingo, which, as closely as anyone can translate it, means "to borrow objects from a friend's house, one by one, until there's nothing left."
George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images "Mind if I borrow your wife, too? Just long enough to teach me how to use the blender, I swear."
That is one hell of a complicated sentence to be expressed by two syllables, and we could assume a lot of things about Easter Island culture if we were to use only this one word as our guide. One, that they tend to be deeply covetous about each other's s**t. Two, that despite this fact, they're too polite to say no to one another. And three, that these factors create a common enough problem that they needed a quick and simple word to refer to it.
We can only imagine that everyone on Easter Island must dread the inevitable day when their best friend bursts through the door and asks, "Hey man, would it be cool if I borrowed ... everything?" And they know that they can only sigh dejectedly and whisper, "Tingo," under their breath as their friend backs a truck into the driveway.
For bitchin' words we definitely need, check out 9 Foreign Words the English Language Desperately Needs and 8 Useful Foreign Words the English Language Needs to Steal.
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