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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.

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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.

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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.

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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’.

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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.

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Amy Johnson

Freelance writer, editor and social media manager.

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Last Updated on January 18, 2019

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

1. Limit the time you spend with them.

First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

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In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

2. Speak up for yourself.

Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

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But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

Why else would they be sharing this with you?

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5. Change the subject.

When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

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You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

7. Leave them behind.

Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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