The reason you could never find the right words to explain it, was because they never existed…in English.
Beauty is found in diversity. The diversity of cultures, ways of living, and of course, the diversity of languages. Although the English language has thousands and thousands of words, sometimes you literally can’t find the word to describe a very specific action, sensation, or thing. At times like this, it may be wise to search through the vast repository of another language for these words, that are so specific, they don’t even have a direct English translation.
They may describe the deepest feelings or the most mundane actions. Either way, they’re unique and we want to share them with you. Here are 10 words in other languages that don’t have an English equivalent.
This Japanese word refers to leaving a new book unread after buying it and letting it pile up with the rest of your unread book. Sometimes there’s just not enough time to read all the books, but that won’t keep us from buying more…
A Russian word that describes a person who asks too many questions. We bet you know someone like this from your class…
A word in Norwegian that describes the feeling of euphoria when you first start to fall in love. The butterflies, the smiles, and the happiness of being in love are all included in the definition of this unique word.
This word is in Yagan, and it means “the wordless, meaningful look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something, but are both reluctant to do so”. This word is also considered one of the world’s hardest-to-translate words.
In Arabic, this word describes a declaration of one’s hope that they’ll die before another person because of how unbearable it would be to live without them. While there are many words in English to describe love, they don’t describe it at the same level as this beautiful one.
In Gregorian, this word refers to the sensation you feel when you’re full, but still can’t stop eating because the food is just too good or because you don’t want to waste it. We’ve all felt this at some point, but no single word in English describes it. Curious, huh?
In Spanish, sobremesa means that specific moment after eating a meal when everyone is finished eating, but the conversation is still flowing at the table. This time can also be spent drinking coffee, playing cards, or watching TV.
8. Pana po’o
Have you ever felt so confused or focused on remembering something that you feel like scratching your head to try to remember? Such a cliché, but Hawaiians use the word pana po’o to describe this precise thing.
In Filipino, they have a word that describes that annoying action of pinching someone’s cheeks tightly as an affectionate gesture. Yeah, that thing grandmas and aunts do when you’re a baby.
In Ulwa, this word means the awful and terrifying feeling of something crawling across your skin. Yes, like when you could swear you have a spider on you. Scary, eerie, dreadful.