Thought Catalog

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

  • 0
“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
M I S C H E L L E
M I S C H E L L E

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. TC mark

More from Thought Catalog

Thought Catalog Videos


    • http://sunsynshilu.wordpress.com Shilu Shrestha

      Reblogged this on In a Blue Funk and commented:
      Beautiful words

    • http://brooklyngirljournal.wordpress.com listology101

      love 12, 14, & 24

    • caresofcarrie

      So much beauty is found here.

    • smiling under the sun

      Reblogged this on smilingunderthesun.

    • http://Littlewanderer.wordpress.com Little Wanderer

      Reblogged this on Little Wanderer and commented:
      Regardless of language barriers, we all feel the same <3

    • http://cheersfromemily.wordpress.com emily muhlberg

      Reblogged this on livethedepth.

    • https://aspiringintrovert.wordpress.com/2015/12/02/untranslatable-words/ Untranslatable Words | aspiringintrovert
    • https://themerakimusings.wordpress.com/2015/12/22/a-thing-of-beauty/ A Thing of Beauty | Hiraeth.
    • https://bridgecalledlanguage.wordpress.com/2016/02/02/words-word-count-reaching-writers/ Words, Word Count & Reaching Writers – This Bridge Called Language

      […] 45 Beautiful Untranslatable Words that Describe Exactly How You’re Feeling. (Thought Catalog) This is a comprehensive resource with lots of repeats but some great words we haven’t seen much of as well. Notables from this list that are prime for great personal stories include: […]

    • https://theenglishadept.com/2016/08/03/untranslateability/ Untranslateability - The English Adept

      […] someone to look out the window for an approaching visitor.) There are many more examples. Here is a link for further […]

    • https://oss.adm.ntu.edu.sg/knguyen001/trying-to-feel/ Trying to Feel – K I M .

      […] 45 Beautiful Untranslatable Words that Describe Exactly How You’re Feeling […]

    • http://weeklyhubris.com/love-fear-loathing-etc-in-the-eye-of-one-beholder/ Love, Fear & Loathing, Etc.: In The Eye of One Beholder

      […] “45 Beautiful Untranslatable Words That Describe Exactly How You’re Feeling,” by Katie Mather, Thought Catalog, July 22, 2015.   […]

    • http://hardcorecomedyentertainment.com/2016/10/these-10-whimsical-japanese-words-have-no-equivalent-in-english/ These 10 whimsical Japanese words have no equivalent in English – Hardcore Comedy Ent.

      […] The good news is that while there are plenty of Japanese words with no English translation, those terms may be exactly what you need to explain the indescribable. […]

    • http://www.brooklynimtrying.com/why-we-travel-reason-15-hiraeth/ why we travel... reason #15 | hiraeth. - Brooklyn, I'm Trying

      […] recently come across this (by nature) unspeakably charming list of words for which there is no direct translation in english. they are feelings we all have, carried in our […]

    • http://englishmajorswithjobs.com/?p=721 “Because My Heart Has Surpassed Me” – English Majors with Jobs

      […] mystical, grounding fantastical plots in widely shared ghost emotions: nostalgia, heartbreak, love, fernweh, or déjà […]

    • https://thathummingbirdlife.com/untranslatable-words/ 8 Untranslatable Words Every Creative Needs To Know - That Hummingbird Life

      […] ‘Used to denote someone who is slowing things down by being fussy. It means an additional request which turns a simple delivery/operation/undertaking into a complicated one, often with only a marginal benefit and a sense of it being an unnecessary complication.’ via Thought Catalogue […]

    blog comments powered by Disqus