45 Beautiful Untranslatable Words That Describe Exactly How You’re Feeling

“Language has no independent existence apart from the people who use it. It is not an end in itself; it is a means to an end of understanding who you are and what society is like.” — David Crystal


1. Forelsket (Norwegian): The indescribable euphoria experienced as you begin to fall in love.

2. Tsundoku (Japanese): Leaving a book unread after buying it.

3. Pålegg (Norwegian): Anything and everything you can put on a slice of bread.

4. Wabi-Sabi (Japanese): Finding beauty in imperfections.

5. Trepverter (Yiddish): A witty comeback you think of only when it’s too late to use.

6. Komorebi (Japanese): The sunlight that filters through the leaves of the trees.

7. Fika (Swedish): Gathering together to talk and take a break from everyday routines; either at a cafe or at home, often for hours on end.

8. Saudade (Portuguese): The feeling of longing for something or someone that you love and which is lost.

9. Kilig (Tagalog): The feeling of butterflies in your stomach, usually when something romantic takes place.

10. Commuovere (Italian): Often taken to mean “heartwarming,” but directly refers to a story that moved you to tears.

11. Luftmensch (Yiddish): Refers to someone who is a bit of a dreamer; literally, an “air person.”

12. Tretår (Swedish): A second refill or “threefill” of coffee.

13. Extrawunsch (German): Used to call someone who is slowing things down by being fussy.

14. Hiraeth (Welsh): A particular type of longing for the homeland or the romanticized past.

15. Mokita (Kivila): The truth everyone knows but agrees not to talk about.

16. Dapjeongneo (Korean): When somebody has already decided the answer they want to hear after asking a question, and are waiting for you to say that exact answer.

17. Waldeinsamkeit (German): The feeling of solitude, being alone in the woods, and a connectedness to nature.

18. Dépaysement (French): The feeling that comes from not being in one’s home country; being a foreigner.

19. Iktsuarpok (Inuit): The feeling of anticipation that leads you to keep looking outside to see if anyone is coming.

20. Jayus (Indonesian): An unfunny joke told so poorly that one cannot help but laugh.

21. Mamihlapinatapei (Yagan): The wordless, meaningful look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something, but are both reluctant to do so.

22. Verschlimmbessern (German): To make something worse when trying to improve it.

23. Schadenfreude (German): The feeling of joy or pleasure when one sees another fail or suffer misfortune.

24. Fernweh (German): Feeling homesick for a place you have never been to.

25. Tingo (Pascuense): To gradually steal all the possessions out of a neighbor’s house by borrowing and not returning.

26. Pochemuchka (Russian): A person who asks too many questions.

27. Gökotta (Swedish): To wake up early in the morning with the purpose of going outside to hear the first birds sing.

28. Bakku-shan (Japanese): A beautiful girl— as long as she’s being looked at from behind.

29. Shlimazl (Yiddish): A chronically unlucky person.

30. Hanyauku (Rukwangali): The act of walking on tiptoes across warm sand.

31. Prozvonit (Czech): To call someone’s cell phone only to have it ring once so that the other person has to call back, allowing the caller to not spend money on minutes.

32. Iktsuarpok (Inuit): The frustration of waiting for someone to turn up.

33. Utepils (Norwegian): To sit outside on a sunny day and enjoy a beer.

34. Culaccino (Italian): The mark left on a table by a moist glass.

35. Age-otori (Japanese): To look worse after a haircut.

36. Toska (Russian): A sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without a specific cause; a longing with nothing to long for.

37. Tartle (Scottish): The act of hesitating while introducing someone because you’ve forgotten their name.

38. Cafuné (Brazilian Portueguese): The act of tenderly running one’s fingers through someone’s hair.

39. Torschlusspanik (German): The fear of diminishing opportunities as one ages.

40. Hyggelig (Danish): A warm, friendly, cozy demeanor.

41. L’appel du vide (French): Literally translated to “the call of the void”; contextually used to describe the instinctive urge to jump from high places.

42. Ya’aburnee (Arabic): A declaration of one’s hope that they’ll die before another person because of how unbearable it would be to live without them.

43. Duende (Spanish): The mysterious power that a work of art has to deeply move a person.

44. Sobremesa (Spanish): After-lunch conversation around the table.

45. Abbiocco (Italian): drowsiness from eating a big meal. Thought Catalog Logo Mark


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