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Lost In Translation: 30 Words With No English Equivalent

Lost In Translation: 30 Words With No English Equivalent

As extensive as the English language might be, other languages continue to have many words that are completely absent! This list has 30 words from all around the world with no exact english equivalents and maybe you’ll find some of these interesting or perhaps even be motivated to pick up a new language, because why not?

1. Schadenfreude

(German) A feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people. Notice the “Freud” in there, perhaps Sigmund Freud loved hearing about people’s troubles and built up his psychodynamic field on that!

2. Fernweh

(German) That feeling you get of homesickness for a place you’ve never ever been to! This is quite similar to wanderlust except that wanderlust is a yearning to visit all those places rather than that distinct feeling of homesickness for them.

3. Sobremesa

(Spanish) The moment after eating a meal when the food is gone but the conversation is still flowing at the table. Usually after the main meal of the day where the Spanish often linger on at the table drinking coffee, chatting, playing cards or watching TV before returning to work later in the afternoon.

4. Treppenwitz

(German) That moment when we think of the perfect comeback long after the chance to actually use the comeback! It essentially means “a clever remark that comes to mind when it’s too late to say it”.

5. Backpfeifengesicht

(German) Do you ever just look at somebody and get so annoyed that you just want to hit them in the face? Well this is the word for you because “Backpfeifengesicht” is a face badly in need of a fist!

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6. Lagom

(Swedish) Lagom is all about moderation. It means not too much and not too little, but just the right amount. Typically referring to the etiquette of taking your share. Lagom is just the perfect spot on the scale!

7. Estrenar

(Spanish) The definition is to wear or use something for the first time but it could be applied for meals, clothes, houses, cars, everything!

8. Razbliuto

(Russian) Describes the feeling a person has for someone he or she once loved. Quite a sad word but here it is for when you really want to convey that.

9. Bakku-shan

(Japanese) A beautiful girl as long as she’s being viewed from behind. Ouch.

10. Mencomot

(Indonesian) Stealing things of little to no value, not because you need them but for the fun of it! This has also become a condition called Kleptomania that refers to the inability to stop the urge to steal items for reasons other than personal use or financial gain.

11. Antier

(Spanish) A one-word way of saying the day before yesterday or a shorter version of “antes de ayer”. Can we have a word for the the day before before yesterday?

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12. Yūgen

(Japanese) Means “a profound, mysterious sense of the beauty of the universe … and the sad beauty of human suffering”. This concept is very important in Japanese culture and the exact translation often depends on the context. In Chinese philosophy the term was taken from “yūgen” meaning “dim”, “deep” or “mysterious”.

13. Schlimazl

(Yiddish) An “inept, bungling person” who is chronically unlucky! (Also Schlimazel or Shlimazl)

14. Hygge

(Danish) Relaxing with a few friends and loved ones while having a meal or some drinks. The word is all about coziness. This is also similar to just “chilling” with a bunch of good friends but Hygge is far more precise.

15. Desvelado

(Spanish) Being unable to sleep or to be sleep deprived. Not very pleasant.

16. Fisselig

(German) Being flustered to the point of incompetence. Some say this would be the same as “jittery” but it’s different because it conveys this temporary state of inexactitude and sloppiness that is caused by another person’s nagging!

17. Tsundoku

(Japanese) Leaving a new book unread after buying it and just letting it pile up with the other unread lonely books in your house, possibly the meanest thing you could do to something as valuable as a book! Don’t tsundoku!

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18. Shouganai

(Japanese) Connected to the idea of fate, this word means that something can’t be helped, so why worry about it? Worrying won’t stop the bad things from happening, it will only stop you from enjoying the good ones.

19. Tuerto

(Spanish) A man with only one eye. Loosely translates to “The One-Eyed”.

20. Uffda

(Swedish) This Swedish exclamation is a sympathetic word to use when someone else is in pain. Pronounced “OOF-dah”, it’s like a mix between “Ouch for you” and “I’m sorry you hurt yourself!”

21. Waldeinsamkeit

(German) The feeling of being alone in the woods. Some Hansel and Gretel or Red Riding Hood reference, I bet!

22. Fargin

(Yiddish) To wholeheartedly appreciate the success of others.

23. Weltschmerz

(German) A romanticised and weary sadness that is experienced by the most privileged of the youth! Translates literally to “world-grief”. Doesn’t that sound a little like our first world problems?

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24. Pochemuchka

(Russian) A person who asks too many questions. Yes, I’m looking at you girl in my class who never puts her hand down.

25. Saudade

(Portuguese) Melancholic longing or nostalgia for a person, place or thing that is far away from you.

26. Tartle

(Scottish) If you’ve ever been talking to someone you’ve been introduced to before but their name has completely disappeared from your brain then you’ve tartled. Essentially means a hesitation in recognising a person or thing.

27. Aware

(Japanese) The bittersweetness of a brief and grading moment of transcendent beauty.

28. Tingo

(Pascuense) Slowly and gradually stealing your neighbour’s things by borrowing them and not returning them till you’ve built up a collection of all the things Not Yours!

29. Iktsuarpok

(Inuit) The frustration and annoyance that comes with waiting for someone to show up. To all you people who wait for your date at the restaurant for hours while the waiters glance pity looks at you every once in a while. Yes. You know what I mean.

30. Mamihlapinatapei

(Yagan) An unspoken yet really profound look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start.

Do you know any other words that we don’t have in the English language?

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Last Updated on May 15, 2019

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

As it appears, the human mind is not capable of not thinking, at least on the subconscious level. Our mind is always occupied by thoughts, whether we want to or not, and they influence our every action.

“Happiness cannot come from without, it comes from within.” – Helen Keller

When we are still children, our thoughts seem to be purely positive. Have you ever been around a 4-year old who doesn’t like a painting he or she drew? I haven’t. Instead, I see glee, exciting and pride in children’s eyes. But as the years go by, we clutter our mind with doubts, fears and self-deprecating thoughts.

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Just imagine then how much we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives if we give negative thoughts too much power! We’ll never go after that job we’ve always wanted because our nay-saying thoughts make us doubt our abilities. We’ll never ask that person we like out on a date because we always think we’re not good enough.

We’ll never risk quitting our job in order to pursue the life and the work of our dreams because we can’t get over our mental barrier that insists we’re too weak, too unimportant and too dumb. We’ll never lose those pounds that risk our health because we believe we’re not capable of pushing our limits. We’ll never be able to fully see our inner potential because we simply don’t dare to question the voices in our head.

But enough is enough! It’s time to stop these limiting beliefs and come to a place of sanity, love and excitement about life, work and ourselves.

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So…how exactly are we to achieve that?

It’s not as hard as it may seem; you just have to practice, practice, practice. Here are a few ideas on how you can get started.

1. Learn to substitute every negative thought with a positive one.

Every time a negative thought crawls into your mind, replace it with a positive thought. It’s just like someone writes a phrase you don’t like on a blackboard and then you get up, erase it and write something much more to your liking.

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2. See the positive side of every situation, even when you are surrounded by pure negativity.

This one is a bit harder to put into practice, which does not mean it’s impossible.

You can find positivity in everything by mentally holding on to something positive, whether this be family, friends, your faith, nature, someone’s sparkling eyes or whatever other glimmer of beauty. If you seek it, you will find it.

3. At least once a day, take a moment and think of 5 things you are grateful for.

This will lighten your mood and give you some perspective of what is really important in life and how many blessings surround you already.

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4. Change the mental images you allow to enter your mind.

How you see yourself and your surroundings make a huge difference to your thinking. It is like watching a DVD that saddens and frustrates you, completely pulling you down. Eject that old DVD, throw it away and insert a new, better, more hopeful one instead.

So, instead of dwelling on dark, negative thoughts, consciously build and focus on positive, light and colorful images, thoughts and situations in your mind a few times a day.

If you are persistent and keep on working on yourself, your mind will automatically reject its negative thoughts and welcome the positive ones.

And remember: You are (or will become) what you think you are. This is reason enough to be proactive about whatever is going on in your head.

Featured photo credit: Kyaw Tun via unsplash.com

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