No word for bribery

« previous post | next post »

In today's Doonesbury, Zonker riffs on the "no word for X" meme:


  1. Mr Fnortner said,

    July 6, 2009 @ 2:24 pm

    Isn't there a word for the phenomenon of not having a word for something in one's language?

  2. Faldone said,

    July 6, 2009 @ 4:52 pm

    Yes, but we don't have a word for it in English.

  3. Nathan Myers said,

    July 6, 2009 @ 4:54 pm

    I like this one because there's no implication that there isn't such a thing, there, as bribery; it's more like saying fish have no word for water. (Which, I hasten to add, they don't — the fish, that is.)

  4. ariel_123 said,

    July 6, 2009 @ 6:03 pm

    The word in that part of the world for palm-greasing is bakhshish.

  5. Lane said,

    July 8, 2009 @ 11:42 am

    "Bakshish" is also "tip", though. I think the ambiguity is somewhat intentional, and a cultural outsider with a Whorfian bent (not me, heaven forbid) would say that it shows that Middle Easterners are in the mental habit of making no distinction between the two.

  6. Vijay John said,

    July 8, 2009 @ 4:48 pm

    I have looked up the word for "bribe" in Persian. According to, there is in fact another word, something like "reshooh." (Final "h" is silent).

    I looked up "bribery" as well, and there are several words. One is the above-mentioned word "reshooh" (bribe). I have attempted to transcribe the others below, but I apologize for any mistakes:

    pawreh setawni

    I can't find any of these in my (admittedly small and not very good) paperback dictionary. I'm guessing "reshaw" and "reshoohkhawri" are related to "reshooh." Looking through my own dictionary, I noticed that the other two words bear a curious resemblance to the words for "army" (artesh) and "to tear" (pawreh kardan; "kardan" means "to do/make").

  7. mollymooly said,

    July 9, 2009 @ 7:50 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post