The Untranslatables

The Untranslatables

Untranslatable Text: 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 CodesWords / PhrasesEnglish Meanings
JPNKomorebiThat scattered, dapple light effect that occurs when sunlight pierces the tops of trees
DEUBackpfeifengesichtA face badly in need of a fist
GEO / KATShemomedjamo[Lit.: I accidentally ate the whole thing]
DEUPackeselA person who carries everybody else’s luggage / bags [Lit.: Burrow]
SVELagomUsed to describe something that is not too much or too little — just right — nicely balanced
TGL / FLIPGigilAn urge to pinch something irresistibly cute
HAWPana Po’oThe act of scratching one’s head to remind them of something they have forgotten
ITASlampadatoAddicted to tanning
NORPåleggAll the ingredients (anything) that is put into a sandwich
ARAYa’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
RUSPochemuchkaA person who asks too many questions
PERZhaghzhaghThe sound one makes when they grind their teeth from either the cold or when they are angry (onomatopoeic)
DEUNeidbauA small house or shack built to annoy or frustrate one’s neighbour(s)
CZEVybafnoutThe act of jumping out at someone and saying boo
JPNAwareThe bittersweetness of a brief and fading moment of transcendent beauty
AKAPelinti[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
INDMencolekTo descibe having someone under one’s arm and on the opposite shoulder
CZEProzvonitThe 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
SMOFaamitiThe act of making a kissy sound to attract the attention or a dog or baby
IKUIktsuarpokThe act of continuously checking one’s front door to see if the people one’s awaiting have arrived yet
SSETartleThe moment when one pauses in hesitation before they introduce someone else — forgetting the person’s name
YAGMamihlapinatapaiThe act of two people looking at one another and wishing the other would do something that both want, but neither want to do
THAGreng-jaiThe feeling one gets when one doesn’t want the other to help because it will be a burden on them
FRASeigneur-terracesTerm for people who sit at cafés all the time and don’t buy anything
ULWYuputkaThe feeling that something is crawling on one’s skin when walking through the woods
DANHyggeThe feeling to describe sitting around a campfire with friends during the wintertime
DANKaellingA woman who never stops nagging or yelling, especially in public places
DEUKummerspeck[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.