There’s a Word For That: 19 Foreign Words English Needs Right Now

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Trivial Diversions

There’s a Word For That: 19 Foreign Words English Needs Right Now

There’s a Word For That: 19 Foreign Words English Needs Right Now

At this point, schadenfreude has become so much a part of the English lexicon that spellcheck doesn’t even give me an unhappy red line under it. English is a language that likes to take from other languages, and with good reason. Here are 19 foreign words with no English equivalent that are lovely, funny, and poignant that our language needs to get to stealing right away.

1.Kummerspeck (German): The literal translation is grief bacon, but more clearly translated it’s the weight gain from eating your feelings.

2. Tartle (Scottish): The feeling when you hesitate before introducing someone because you can’t quite remember their name.

3. Greng-jai (Thai): Someone offers to do something for you and you wish they wouldn’t because it would be annoying for them

4. Gigil (Filipino): That desire to pinch or squeeze something incredibly cute.

5. Lagom (Swedish): No, that’s too much. Naw, too little. This one is just lagom though. It’s just right.

6. Seigneur-terraces (French): Definitely a word that college town dwellers will need, it means those who stay too long at a coffee shop and don’t spend enough money.

7. Ya-arburnee (Arabic): This is perhaps the sweetest word on this list. It is the hope that you die before someone else because you love them too much to live without them. The literal translation is “may you bury me”, which sounds morbid, but turns out to be a declaration of true love.

8. Koi Na Yokan (Japanese): Another in the vein of love, this is the feeling when you meet someone and you know you’re going to fall in love.

9. L’esprit de l’escalier (French): Stairwell wit. When you’ve had an argument and you only think of the perfect response after you’ve left the room, on the way down the stairs as it were.

10. Hygge (Danish): This one has grown somewhat popular in the Northern states in the last polar vortex covered winters. It’s the camaraderie, intimacy, and comfort of being together with friends, food, and warmth when it’s cold outside.

11. Cavoli Riscaldati (Italian): Literally this means “reheated cabbage”, which becomes far more amusing when you find out that the better translation is trying again at a relationship doomed to fail.

12. Litost (Czech): A regret or agony brought on by realizing just how bad your situation is.

13. Arigata-meiwaku (Japanese): Simialr to greng-jai, but even worse. Someone offers to do something for you. You tell them no and try to get them not to. They do it anyway because they just need to help you out. Of course, it goes wrong and is a huge pain for you, but you have to say thanks because it’s polite.

14. Forelsket (Norwegian): The happy feelings of first falling in love (note: English may have had a word for this in the past in the form of “spoony” which I wholeheartedly advocate for bringing back)

15. Nunchi (Korean): This is something like emotional intelligence. It’s the ability to pay attention to how someone is feeling and do or say the right thing.

16. Pena ajena (Mexian Spanish): The anti-schadenfreude, it’s embarrassment instead of enjoyment at the sight of someone else’s pain or humiliation.

17. Yoko meshi (Japanese): “A meal eaten sideways”, or the stress of trying to speak a foreign language.

18. Desenrascanco (Portuguese): Putting together a plan at the last minute with few resources and somehow having it work out.

19. Tsundoku (Japanese): A book that you buy and you never end up reading.


Related topics foreign languages, words
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