The Untranslatables

The Untranslatables

The Untranslatables

Untranslatables: No English Equivalent

There are many words in the English language that were borrowed from other languages such as Latin, French, German, Spanish and so on. They are called loanwords and exhibit little or no modification at all. Although, there are many words that the English language could do with adding…

Languages are fascinating to study and there is always something new and exciting to learn about them. We have been looking at a wide array of languages and words that do not appear in a modern English dictionary.

Without further ado, we bring you a list of foreign language words for which English has no direct translation.

Language Codes Words / Phrases English Meanings
JPN Komorebi That scattered, dapple light effect that occurs when sunlight pierces the tops of trees
DEU Backpfeifengesicht A face badly in need of a fist
GEO / KAT Shemomedjamo [Lit.: I accidentally ate the whole thing]
DEU Packesel A person who carries everybody else’s luggage / bags [Lit.: Burrow]
SVE Lagom Used to describe something that is not too much or too little — just right — nicely balanced
TGL / FLIP Gigil An urge to pinch something irresistibly cute
HAW Pana Po’o The act of scratching one’s head to remind them of something they have forgotten
ITA Slampadato Addicted to tanning
NOR Pålegg All the ingredients (anything) that is put into a sandwich
ARA Ya’arburnee [Lit.: May you bury me] Asked of a loved one, so that they may not go through the hardship of being alone or dying before the other
RUS Pochemuchka A person who asks too many questions
PER Zhaghzhagh The sound one makes when they grind their teeth from either the cold or when they are angry (onomatopoeic)
DEU Neidbau A small house or shack built to annoy or frustrate one’s neighbour(s)
CZE Vybafnout The act of jumping out at someone and saying boo
JPN Aware The bittersweetness of a brief and fading moment of transcendent beauty
AKA Pelinti [Lit.: To move hot food around in the mouth] The moment you put too much hot food in your mouth, tilt your head back and move it around to cool it down
IND Mencolek To descibe having someone under one’s arm and on the opposite shoulder
CZE Prozvonit The act of calling a person’s mobile phone only to ring once, so that the other person will call back, saving the first caller their minutes / credit
SMO Faamiti The act of making a kissy sound to attract the attention or a dog or baby
IKU Iktsuarpok The act of continuously checking one’s front door to see if the people one’s awaiting have arrived yet
SSE Tartle The moment when one pauses in hesitation before they introduce someone else — forgetting the person’s name
YAG Mamihlapinatapai The act of two people looking at one another and wishing the other would do something that both want, but neither want to do
THA Greng-jai The feeling one gets when one doesn’t want the other to help because it will be a burden on them
FRA Seigneur-terraces Term for people who sit at cafés all the time and don’t buy anything
ULW Yuputka The feeling that something is crawling on one’s skin when walking through the woods
DAN Hygge The feeling to describe sitting around a campfire with friends during the wintertime
DAN Kaelling A woman who never stops nagging or yelling, especially in public places
DEU Kummerspeck [Lit.: Grief bacon] A name for the weight gained after an extended period of emotional overeating

Some of these words and their subsequent meanings aren’t anything new to us. We have all experienced something like their meanings before; we just didn’t have a specific word for them.

FYI: The word untranslatables does not exist in English. Untranslatable is an adjective, not a noun.

Know any other words without a direct English translation? Let us know…

Graham,
The STAR Team

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