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

Freelance writer, editor and social media manager.

This List of 50 Low-cost Hobbies Will Excite You Daily Routine of Successful People That Will Inspire You to Achieve More 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 15 Inspirational Weekend Activities to do by Yourself 15 Amazing Design Ideas For Your Small Living Room

Trending in Communication

1 15 Ways to Practice Positive Self-Talk for Success 2 27 Ways to Instantly Feel Better When You’re Down 3 How to Find Motivation When You’re Totally Burnt Out 4 10 Positive Affirmations for Success that will Change your Life 5 Top 10 Online Learning Sites To Advance Communication Skills at Work

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on October 9, 2018

27 Ways to Instantly Feel Better When You’re Down

27 Ways to Instantly Feel Better When You’re Down

Who has never gone through some ups and downs in the life? But some people can feel better in a quicker way than others because they’ve found their own remedies to heal the bad feelings.

If you haven’t found yours, these ways will help you instantly feel better and ditch that negative self talk when you’re feeling bad about yourself:

Advertising

  1. Listen to the songs you loved when you were in high school or university, this will recall you of the old good times.
  2. Write something. Write down how you feel as a way to express your thoughts if you don’t feel like talking to anyone.
  3. Draw something. Draw anything you want because no one’s going to judge your drawing skills.
  4. Read the postcards or letters your friends or family sent you before, remind yourself there are people who always remember you.
  5. Silently think of a day or moment which you truly enjoyed and try to recapture that very first feeling. Was it the day of your graduation? The moment you traveled with your loved one?
  6. Take out your photo albums and go over your childhood photos.
  7. Cry when you feel like doing so. There’s nothing wrong with crying; cry out all your fear and stress and just face the truth after crying.
  8. Sing loudly like no one can hear you. Do you know that in Japan, people always sing karaoke to relieve stress?
  9. Cook a nice meal for yourself or for your family.
  10. Read your previous diary entries and look at your great memories.
  11. Dress up nicely to feel happier.
  12. Don’t stay in your bed! Get your laptop or a book and sit in a coffee place.
  13. Take a walk outside and feel the fresh air.
  14. Sweat yourself! Go jogging or play some sports.
  15. Pick up the musical instrument you used to play a lot and start to play it.
  16. Tidy up your desk or wardrobe, you’ll feel good that you’re being productive and actually doing something.
  17. Watch some funny videos, sure you can find a lot of them on Youtube.
  18. Eat something you like, be it a chocolate cake, or an ice-cream. Just please yourself with the flavour you like.
  19. Re-read your favorite book and write down the sentences or passages that you love.
  20. Watch a new movie, there must be a movie which you’ve always interested in but had no time to watch it.
  21. Do something nice that no one will notice, say picking up a rubbish in the street and throw it to a trash bin.
  22. Call your best friend and just talk whatever you want! Human beings are social animals after all, connecting with people close to you will make you feel better.
  23. Do voluntary work and help people in need, you’ll feel happy and satisfied.
  24. Get drunk with your close friends at home – a safe place for you to get drunk and get crazy. Let loose and have fun with your very close friends.
  25. Write an email or a note to a friend who you care about.
  26. Get out of your routine life and meet new friends. Get out of your comfort zone! Meeting new people can give you new inspirations in life.
  27. Look into the mirror and smile. Act like today’s already a wonderful day. How we act affects how we feel. It’s difficult to go on feeling sad if you’re trying to smile!

Remember:

Advertising

It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.  — Epictetus

If you want to feel better, change what you’re doing because obviously what you’re doing doesn’t make you happy!

Advertising

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Advertising

Read Next