Advertising
Advertising

15 French Words We Cannot Translate Into English Directly

15 French Words We Cannot Translate Into English Directly

Do you ever stop, unable to think of a word that describes what you are thinking? You know exactly what you mean, but there isn’t an English word for it. If you can relate to this, you may be thinking in another language. There are lots of French words that don’t have an English equivalent, but we can all relate to the meaning of the word.

Here are 15 French words that we can’t directly translate into English.

1. La douleur exquise

If you have ever experienced the pangs of unrequited love, add this word to your dictionary. La douleur exquise describes the heartache of wanting someone who you can’t have.

2. Dépaysement

This word is perfect for travellers; it literally means “to be uncountried”, and it describes the feeling of feeling like a foreigner in a new country.

Advertising

3. L’ésprit d’escalier

We can all relate to this one; L’esprit d’escalier is the feeling of thinking of the perfect retort for an argument long after the argument has ended.

It roughly translates to “staircase wit” as the French philosopher Diderot (who coined the word) often thought of the perfect retort as he walked down the stairs after a disagreement.

4. Nostalgie de la boue

Nostalgie de la boue describes the feeling of being attracted to depravity and sin, especially if you are middle or high class.

5. S’entendre

Are you and your best friend on the same wavelength? If so, this word may describe your friendship; S’entendre is a sweet word that describes getting along with someone well because you think in the same way.

Advertising

6. Chanter en yaourt / yaourter

This word describes someone trying to sing along to a song when they don’t know the words. Often they will replace lyrics with similar sounds and noises, like ‘la la la’ – admit it, you’ve done this before.

7. Narguer

Narguer describes mocking someone when you are in a better situation. For instance, narguer would be bragging to your friends that you can have a lay-in when you know that they are all getting up early for work.

8. Retrouvailles

This lovely word describes the reunion between old friends who love each other a lot but haven’t seen each other in a long time. ‘Reunion’ isn’t a direct translation, as that describes all reunions and not just the ones between close friends.

9. Gâchis

This word is perfect for a comedy film; it means a great opportunity that is wasted by unbelievable levels of incompetence and stupidity.

Advertising

10. L’appel du vide

L’appel du vide translates to “the call of the void”, and it describes the sudden urge to jump when you are stood in a high place.

11. Flâner

Paris is a stunning city, and this word encapsulates that. Flâner is the act of slowly strolling through the streets of Paris to enjoy the beauty, mood and architecture.

12. Bricoleur du dimanche

Have you ever improvised a project from scratch? A Bricoleur du dimanche is a person who starts to create something without a clear plan, randomly adding parts and new things.

13. Épater

This funny word is very specific; it literally means to ‘shock the middle class’.

Advertising

14. A l’ouest

A l’ouest literally translates to mean ‘in the west’, but it isn’t describing a place. It is used to describe someone who is a little strange or quirky, or someone who is deep in thought or daydreaming. The closest English equivalent is ‘on another planet.’

15. Terroir

Terroir is a very specific word, most often used by people in the wine and cheese industries. It means the combination of climate, geology, geography and labor of a place that contribute to the cheese and wine that they produce.

More by this author

Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

10 Health Benefits Of Avocado If You Feel Trapped, Do These 9 Things To Take Your Life Back If You Feel Trapped, Do These 9 Things To Take Your Life Back This List of 50 Low-cost Hobbies Will Excite You Daily Routine of Successful People That Will Inspire You to Achieve More 15 Inspirational Weekend Activities to do by Yourself

Trending in Communication

1 What’s the Easiest Language to Learn for English Speakers? 2 Need Morning Motivation? 30 Routines to Help You Start Afresh 3 30 Self-Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit 4 How to Practice Positive Thinking And Change Your Life 5 12 Things You Should Remember When Feeling Lost in Life

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on September 12, 2019

12 Things You Should Remember When Feeling Lost in Life

12 Things You Should Remember When Feeling Lost in Life

Even the most charismatic people you know, whether in person or celebrities of some sort, experience days where they feel lost in life and isolated from everyone else.

While it’s good to know we aren’t alone in this feeling, the question still remains:

What should we do when we feel lost and lonely?

Here are 12 things to remember:

1. Recognize That It’s Okay!

The truth is, there are times you need to be alone. If you’ve always been accustomed to being in contact with people, this may prove difficult.

However, learning how to be alone and comfortable in your own skin will give you confidence and a sense of self reliance.

We cheat ourselves out of the opportunity to become self reliant when we look for constant companionship.

Learn how to embrace your me time: What Your Fear of Being Alone Is Really About and How to Get over It

Advertising

2. Use Your Lost and Loneliness as a Self-Directing Guide

You’ve most likely heard the expression: “You have to know where you’ve been to know where you’re going.”

Loneliness also serves as a life signal to indicate you’re in search of something. It’s when we’re in the midst of solitude that answers come from true soul searching.

Remember, there is more to life than what you’re feeling.

3. Realize Loneliness Helps You Face the Truth

Being in the constant company of others, although comforting sometimes, can often serve as a distraction when we need to face the reality of a situation.

Solitude cuts straight to the chase and forces you to deal with the problem at hand. See it as a blessing that can serve as a catalyst to set things right!

4. Be Aware That You Have More Control Than You Think

Typically, when we see ourselves as being lost or lonely, it gives us an excuse to view everything we come in contact with in a negative light. It lends itself to putting ourselves in the victim mode, when the truth of the matter is that you choose your attitude in every situation.

No one can force a feeling upon you! It is YOU who has the ultimate say as to how you choose to react.

5. Embrace the Freedom That the Feeling of Being Alone Can Offer

Instead of wallowing in self pity, which many are prone to do because of loneliness, try looking at your circumstance as a new-found freedom.

Advertising

Most people are in constant need of approval of their viewpoints. Try enjoying the fact that  you don’t need everyone you care about to support your decisions.

6. Acknowledge the Person You Are Now

Perhaps you feel a sense of loneliness and confusion because your life circumstances have taken you away from the persona that others know to be you.

Perhaps the new you differs radically from the old. Realize that life is about change and how we react to that change. It’s okay that you’re not who you used to be.

Take a look at this article and learn to accept your imperfect self: Accept Yourself (Flaws and All): 7 Benefits of Being Vulnerable

7. Keep Striving to Do Your Best

Often those who are feeling isolated and unto themselves will develop a defeatist attitude. They’ll do substandard work because their self esteem is low and they don’t care.

Never let this feeling take away your sense of worth! Do your best always and when you come through this dark time, others will admire how you stayed determined in spite of the obstacles you had to overcome.

And to live your best life, you must do this ONE thing: step out of your comfort zone.

8. Don’t Forget That Time Is Precious

When we’re lost in a sea of loneliness and depression, it’s all too easy to reflect on regrets of past life events. This does nothing but feed negativity and perpetuate the situation.

Advertising

Instead of falling prey to this common pitfall, put one foot in front of the other and acknowledge every positive step you take. By doing this, you can celebrate the struggles you overcome at the end of the day.

9. Remember, Things Happen for a Reason

Every circumstance we encounter in our life is designed to teach us and that lesson is in turn passed on to others.

Sometimes we’re fortunate enough to figure out the lesson to be learned, while other times, we simply need to have faith that if the lesson wasn’t meant directly for us to learn from, how we handled it was observed by someone who needed to learn.

Your solitude and feeling of lost, in this instance, although painful possibly, may be teaching someone else.

10. Journal During This Time

Record your thoughts when you’re at the height of loneliness and feeling lost. You’ll be amazed when you reflect back at how you viewed things at the time and how far you’ve come later.

This time (if recorded) can give you a keen insight into who you are and what makes you feel the way you feel.

11. Remember You Aren’t the First to Feel This Way

It’s quite common to feel as if we’re alone and no one else has ever felt this way before. We think this because at the time of our distress, we’re silently observing others around us who are seemingly fine in every way.

The truth is, we can’t possibly know the struggles of those around us unless they elect to share them. We ALL have known this pain!

Advertising

Try confiding in someone you trust and ask them how they deal with these feelings when they experienced it. You may be surprised at what you learn.

12. Ask for Help If the Problem Persists

The feeling of being lost and lonely is common to everyone, but typically it will last for a relatively short period of time.

Most people will confess to, at one time or another, being in a “funk.” But if the problem persists longer than you feel it should, don’t ignore it.

When your ability to reason and consider things rationally becomes impaired, do not poo poo the problem away and think it isn’t worthy of attention. Seek medical help.

Afraid to ask for help? Here’s how to change your outlook to aim high!

Final Thoughts

Loneliness and a sense of feeling lost can in many ways be extremely painful and difficult to deal with at best. However, these feelings can also serve as a catalyst for change in our lives if we acknowledge them and act.

Above anything, cherish your mental well being and don’t underestimate its worth. Seek professional guidance if you’re unable to distinguish between a sense of freedom for yourself and a sense of despair.

More About Finding Yourself

Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

Read Next