https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Speir_

Words with no direct English equivalent

A few words with their closest definitions/meanings included:

"Hiraeth (Welsh)": A homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, which maybe never was; the nostalgia of the lost places of your past
"Lagom (Swedish)": Not too much, not too little, but just right
"Tartle (Scottish)": The panicky hesitation just before you have to introduce someone whose name you can't quite remember
"Hygge (Danish)": the pleasant, genial, and intimate feeling associated with sitting around a fire in the winter with close friends.
"Litost (Czech)": a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery.

Another word with no direct English definition is "Packesel" (which is German), which goes something along the lines of: "the person who’s stuck carrying everyone else’s bags on a trip."

What other words have no straightforward English equivalent?

August 19, 2017

50 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SeptimusBones

One old but gold from Finnish is "kalsarikännit", referring to the act of being or getting drunk while at home alone in one's underwear.

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Woof.

Facepalms

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arcaeca

Fr. l'esprit de l'escalier - the act of coming up with a clever comeback after it's already too late to use it.

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MelvilQ

In German this is called "Treppenwitz".

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Woof.

Both happen to me ALL. THE. TIME. XD.

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KingRomanV

Saudade is a popular one in Brazilian Portuguese (perhaps EU Portuguese, Idk tbh haha). Basically it means nostalgia or an extreme longing for something or someone that's perhaps unattainable. For example, if I was in a relationship and it ended and I was having a Drake, Adele, Lana Del Rey, and entire tub of ice cream moment, it'd probably be because of "saudade" for that person/relationship.

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Woof.

I have entire tubs of ice cream without feeling saudade. Fine, not seriously, but I've come close.

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KingRomanV

honestly same

August 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SilverCharacter

So it's a more commonly used word for fangirling? haha

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KingRomanV

No its more about being bitter and sad about what you used to have, think, feel, etc. but still longing for it lol.

August 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SilverCharacter

Oh! Interesting. Truly untranslatable. ^_^

August 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KeeganRyan3

A German one is "fremdschämen", which is basically in Englisch "being embarrassed for another person", but it's truly like a deep down embarrassment that there's no quick Englisch way to describe.

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/clrrandall

I think "second-hand embarrassment" carries the same meaning??

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/airelibre

Cringe is pretty close

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mr_Eyl

I'd translate 'lagom' as 'sufficient'.

A good German one is 'Kummerspeck', which translates as 'grief bacon'. It means excess weight gained due to overeating from being unhappy.

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ekirays

One of my favourite ones HAVE to be kilig ~ It is Tagalog (PHI) for "the excitement one gets from seeing or experiencing a romantic gesture" <3

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LiaCaran

Here are other Tagalog words I know

Tampo - when you're showing someone that you're mad at them, although you're not really that mad. Usually, the person doing this wants the other person to make it up to them.

Gigil - the urge of pinching someone out of cuteness. It may also be a word for suppressed anger that you can't let out.

Torpe - someone who feels shy about expressing their attraction to a person they like.

August 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ekirays

Ahhh yes, good ones! Also thanks for adding me CX

August 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Woof.

Jayus (Indonesian) When a joke is so stupid and so not funny, but you just have to laugh.

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SilverCharacter

I love these... not an original but still good:

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Speir_

Haha, thanks for that, SilverCharacter! 3 I most likely wouldn't be able to pronounce "Juoksentelisinkohan" (it's a little bit long, lol!)

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SilverCharacter

Same! Finnish isn't really my strong suit. I need to practice more >.<

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Speir_

Finnish isn't my strong suit, either; it's very complex and confusing, and I don't have much commitment to stick with it! .

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wildman6647

Schadenfreude: the pleasure taken from the misery of others (German)

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ekirays

Haha wow that's really sadistic

August 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wildman6647

It is the most famous example

August 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lushberry

Well I know the word mencomot means stealing things that don't have much value ,but I don't know which language its from.

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BlahBlah7137

Indonesian.

August 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lushberry

Thank You!

August 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/grey236

Gezellig - (Dutch) Kinda like a warm and cozy feeling, intimate, sociable

"Op Kerstavond zaten wij allemaal bij de haard terwijl het buiten sneeuwde. Het was zeer gezellig"

"On Christmas Eve we all sat by the warm fireplace as it snowed outside. It was very cozy"

Imperium - (Latin) kinda like "power to command" and one who has it is an imperator. Imperium is usually translated as 'empire' such as "Imperium Romanum"

"Imperator Romanus imperio multo usus erat dum patriam eius regebat"

"The Roman Emperor used much imperium while he ruled the country"

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arachnje

やっぱり (yappari), or やはり(yahari) in Japanese, used to convey diverse versions of "confirming a presumption", and may have a range of English translations, like (After all), (I knew it), (It is, isn't it!), and others, non of which being a mirror-image equivalent of what the word conveys in Japanese.

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Woof.

Kirakira. Definition: More than just glittering, dazzling, sparkling, shimmering, Etc. Language: Japanese. Totally, absolutely one of my favorites.

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nemesis_NaR

German: Ohrwurm - A melody that got stuck in your head and you keep singing it

Czech: Bufetit (verb), bufeťák (a person) - To eat thrown away food (like from a dustbin) or to dig through trash. "Bufeťák" can be a homeless person or you can tell it about a dog that loves eating anything at least resembling food.

Akorát - Just the right amount.

And I disagree with your word "lítost". Lítost can be translated as "sorrow, grief, regret, remorse". Maybe you meant "sebelítost" byt my dictionary shows the English translation "self-pity".

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/airelibre

I think Ohrwurm comes from English (earworm).

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Maughanster_

Dutch: gezellig—see here: http://www.dutchamsterdam.nl/155-gezellig

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Woof.

Kilig perhaps... It's pretty much ''Romantic excitement'' It's Filipino.

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Woof.

Oh sorry, I just realized someone else did Kilig... Sorry ekirays, I didn't copy you.

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ekirays

CX

August 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LiaCaran

Hi, are you Filipino?

August 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Woof.

Nope. Not at all.

August 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LiaCaran

Gotcha

August 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/airelibre

We use "packhorse" as an equivalent of Packesel, but I guess it's not all that common. "Why have I got to be your packhorse, carry your own stuff!"

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Speir_

Thanks for the link! ;)

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Woof.

No problem.

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeviPolasak

In Yiddish:

פּרווה Something that is neither dairy nor poultry

To be happy/glad that someone has something good, or is doing well, basically being happy for someone else. פאַרגינען

August 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Woof.

I am so happy I have never been tartle before.

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/scilling

“Tartle” was discussed here two months ago.

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/w1ndh0ek

"saudades" from Portuguese?

August 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Woof.

TRATOLIŠTĚ – a large puddle of blood. Czech :D

October 5, 2017
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