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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 November 17, 2019

20 Creative Ways To Say Thank You

20 Creative Ways To Say Thank You

Saying, “Thank you,” can be difficult to do. Some things just demand a little something extra because of the magnitude of the favor or the depth of appreciation involved. But what can you do to say thank you in a meaningful way? Sometimes you have to get a little more creative than just firing off an email. Here are 20 creative ways to say thank you that your friends and family will remember and cherish!

1. Make a gift bag.

A unique, homemade gift bag with a custom label or a note is a simple but heartfelt way to show your appreciation for the wonderful things your friends or family have done for you.

2. Give a toast.

Many people fear public speaking more than death, giving this particular thank-you a little extra meaning. Composing a sincere, eloquent toast and delivering it is a nice way to show appreciation that truly comes from the heart.

3. Write a poem.

“Roses are red, violets are blue…” Uh, you could write that...but why not put a little extra zing in it? Find out what their favorite kind of poetry is: haiku, free verse, iambic pentameter, and so on. (Google them if you don’t know what they are.) Then write one that expresses why they deserve your thanks…and why you’re glad to give it!

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4. Create your own labels.

There are a number of websites that offer custom gift labels. Find one that fits your personality and that of your friends and create a personalized thank-you label!

5. Give a gift card.

Sometimes choosing what to give a friend can be tough. A gift card is a good way to get around this problem. As always, be sure to include a personalized note or card thanking the recipient for their friendship and help.

6. Send a letter.

Snail-mail is a largely lost art form. Don’t worry about how long the letter is, though. What really matters here is that you took the time to put pen to paper and express your feelings sincerely and honestly!

7. Use social media to send a special message.

If someone’s done something you think the whole world should know about, why not put out a social media blast? Use your blog, your Facebook, your Google+ account, and your Twitter to spread the word about why this person’s someone your friends will want to know too!

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8. Make your own digital greeting card.

While an email isn’t always the best way to go when saying thank you, a digital greeting card that you put time and effort into creating can really brighten someone’s day! Make the card reflect the recipient’s personality and compose a short message of thanks for their generosity.

9. Make a YouTube video.

Sometimes, actually hearing someone say, “Thank you,” can make all the difference. Why not take it a step further and create a special video of thanks for your friends, family, and those special people who helped make your day so important…or who helped you through that rough time?

10. Deliver cookies or candies.

Making something yourself is a fun and delightful way to say thank you to someone. Create a sampling of baked goods or homemade candies and decorate them with a simple message, or make them so they form letters! (Think Valentine’s candies, only situationally appropriate.) Attach a thank-you note or label and surprise those special people with the gift of your time and creativity.

11. Make surprise gifts for guests.

There’s no need to wait until “later” to send a thank-you message. Why not do it at the time? Create little gift packets or bags for your guests with surprises inside. This is a great way to say thanks to the people who attended your event, and make sure they won’t want to miss the next one!

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12. Put together a flower basket.

Whether you prefer fresh or artificial flowers, assembling a flower basket with a thank-you note is an excellent way to brighten someone’s day and show you appreciate them.

13. Take a picture.

Sometimes capturing the moment is the best way to put a smile on someone’s face. Have someone take a picture of you receiving that special gift or opening that surprise package and send the giver a copy with a quick but sincere note to say thanks!

14. Repay their generosity by paying it forward.

The best gifts come from the heart, and the best way to repay a gift is to pay it forward. If your friend has a special cause they care about or something they believe in passionately, why not make a donation in their name or volunteer some of your time to the cause? This will mean more than any number of cookies, candies, or thank-you notes because you’re taking your friend’s love and spreading it around to others.

15. Do something special for them.

Take them out to dinner. (See “make a toast.”) Give them that movie they’ve been wanting forever. Cook them dinner and give them a present when they arrive. Any of these are good options for showing someone you really appreciate them and how grateful you are to have them in your life.

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16. Reciprocate their help.

Everyone needs help sometime. Whether it’s holding their hand through a particularly traumatic incident or helping them replace the alternator in their car, being there when they need it shows you remember what they did for you and how much it meant. It also shows that you’re willing to be just as good a friend to them as they were to you!

17. Be there for them.

Not every thank-you gesture has to be a grand public spectacle. Sometimes just giving them a place to come hang out when they’re lonely or showing up to offer them a sympathetic shoulder means the world to a person.

18. Listen to them.

Listening is almost as lost an art as the handwritten letter. When your friend or family member needs to talk, listen to them. Ask questions when appropriate, but just letting them know you’re there and paying attention to them to the exclusion of all else for a little while is a great way to say thank you for the times they listened to you.

19. Say it in another language…or two…

A simple thank you is great…but why not spice it up a little? Instead of just saying, “Thank you,” write or make a video of you telling them thank you in different languages. Some examples might be, “Gracias! Merci! Danke schoen! Spasibo! Mahalo!” and any other ways or languages you can think of. (The ones listed above are Spanish, French, German, Russian, and Hawaiian, in case you were wondering.) If you want to really get tricky about it, say a short phrase in each language that conveys why you’re thanking them!

20. Show them some love.

A simple touch, a hug, or helping out when they need it without being asked may be the most powerful gratitude message you can send. Offer to take the dogs for a walk, sit for the kids for a few hours, or run to the grocery store so they don’t have to. The little things are often the most important and meaningful. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still send a note, but sometimes your simple presence and willingness to help is all that really matters.

Featured photo credit: Hanny Naibaho via unsplash.com

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