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13 (more) beautiful words with no English translation

13 (more) beautiful words with no English translation

It’s been estimated that the English language is home to around 1 million words. However, when you learn English, the variety of vocabulary on offer doesn't feel like enough to find the word you need to describe a particular situation. Thankfully, these words do in fact exist — they can be borrowed from other languages that have crafted terms for wonderfully specific scenarios.

Looking to spice up your next conversation? Here's a list of beautiful words in different languages with no direct English translation.

1. Abbiocco (Italian)

“The sleepy feeling you experience after eating a big meal.”

This beautiful Italian word could be translated as “food-coma”, but the term is gentler and invokes a more pleasant feeling. Think of this word as a descriptor of the comfortably full and relaxed feeling you experience after a delicious meal with friends.

2. Sisu (Finnish)

“Strength of will, determination and perseverance in challenging times.”

“Sisu” can be summed up as extreme perseverance and dignity when faced with a very challenging situation or circumstance. It embodies a sense of survival and finding your inner strength to achieve the near impossible.

3. 분위기 (Korean) Pronunciation: boon-wee-gi

“The atmosphere or vibe of a location.”

In English, we often refer to “the vibe” of a place, like a restaurant or a café. “분위기” doesn’t just describe the general ambience of a specific setting, it encompasses the emotions of the individuals connected to it. It suggests that the people, as well as the decor, have an impact on your perception of a place.

4. Tartle (Scots)

“The act of hesitating while introducing someone because you've forgotten their name.”

You know that awkward moment of hesitation when you’re about to introduce your friend to someone and you’ve completely forgotten their name? The Scots have a word for that exact pause, “tartle”. So don’t worry, it happens to the best of us!

5. L’esprit de l’escalier (French)

“The predicament of thinking of the perfect reply too late.”

Have you ever thought of the perfect comeback after the moment has already passed? Well the French have a phrase for this annoying feeling. The direct translation is “wit of the staircase” — the perfect way to describe the frustration of a witty retort that comes to mind when you’re on your way out.

6. Gigil (Tagalog)

“The overwhelming feeling that comes over us when we see something cute.”

Tagalog, one of the Philippines’ major languages, has a word to encapsulate the overwhelming feeling of being in the presence of something irresistibly cute. “Gigil” is the equivalent to a grandma saying, “Gosh, I could just eat you up!” to her adorable grandchild.

7. Hygge (Danish)

“The feeling of comfort, warmth and coziness.”

Imagine you are sitting around a crackling campfire, enjoying a hot chocolate and roasting marshmallows with your friends. Think of the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes over you in that setting. The Danes have a wonderful word that embraces this intimate and delightful feeling: “hygge”.

8. Friolero (Spanish)

“A person who is sensitive to the cold weather and is prone to feeling shivery.”

This word is used to describe someone who is incredibly sensitive to the cold. They’re not only quick to shiver and constantly reaching for a blanket — they’re sensitive to cold drinks and food, too. The Spanish word “friolero” is a perfect fit for them.

9. Meraki (Greek)

“To do something with love, care, creativity and soul.”

This wonderful Greek word is used when you pour your heart and soul into whatever it is you’re doing. When you spend a lot of effort creating something, and it feels almost as though you have left a tiny piece of yourself in there, you have done it “with meraki”.

10. Tuerto (Spanish)

“Someone who is thought to bring bad luck, or one-eyed person.”

If you’ve experienced rotten luck, the Spanish have a curious phrase for you. Tuerto can be translated as “one-eyed person”. It’s often used in sentences like “you have been seen by a one-eyed person” and this means you have been jinxed or are very unlucky.

11. Pochemuchka (Russian)

“A person, usually a small child, who asks too many questions.”

This word derives from the Russian word for “why” which is “pochemu” and is used to describe a child or even an adult that is overly curious or inquisitive. In short: They simply ask too many questions!

12. Fargin (Yiddish)

“Wholeheartedly celebrating the success of others.”

This beautiful Yiddish word has a wholesome and wonderful meaning behind it. “Fargin” describes being happy for someone when they are successful — it encourages celebrating their triumphs, rather than being resentful of them.

13. Lagom (Swedish)

“Just the right amount.”

“Lagom” perfectly describes balance and describes when something is just right. What’s more, depending on the context in which it’s used, the precise meaning of the word changes, making it even more unique.

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