Words that don’t exist in the English language

They say language cannot be truly translated. What you feel as a native speaker in your language will not really translate properly into another language without a paragraph of explanation.

The most common one for me is schadenfreude (German), or the pleasure derived from others’ misfortune.

Via Tumblr @ sleepwaking dawn

  • http://www.thebloommanifesto.com/ Bloom Oleary

    Cool post, I actually recently had a conversation with a friend about the limitations of language and how it can effect how we think and express ideas. George Orwell deals with the subject in his book “1984″. Double Plus Good Post!

  • Raf

    Cualacino?! I’m Italian and never heard of the word. It isn’t in my dictionary either…

    • Raf

      I found “culaccino” but with a slightly different meaning (what remains of a drink at the bottom in the glass). Not common.

  • TatiLie

    ‘Saudade’ could be better translated as deeply missing someone or something, like I miss my home country or friends that live there. I haven’t lost them and I’ll see them again but nevertheless I miss them so deeply! I will use ‘meraki’ and ‘gheegle’ as part of my normal vocabulary.

  • Muriel

    I’m French and I have never heard of the first phrase (which should be spellt l’esprit d’escalier by the way). Had to check, but yes it exists …And actually I very much have l’esprit d’escalier. I’ll try to use this phrase soon!

  • Amy

    A lot of these words have English variations. Here are some:
    The feeling of being alone in the woods. English: creeped out.
    The euphoria you experience when you are first falling in love. English: euphoria.
    The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is unbearably cute. English: baby rabies.
    A person who asks a lot of questions. English: a five year-old.
    The embarrassment you feel watching someone else’s humiliation. English: douche chills.
    The mark left on a table by a cold glass. English: ring.
    A person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time. English: my mom.

    • Jennifer

      Too funny, I had to laugh at “a five year-old”. My thought when I read about a person who asks a lot of questions was “my son”…who just happened to turn 5 a few days ago.

    • Meg

      The word “forelsket” in Norwegian simply means “(falling) in love”. (It does not translate as euphoria). So it does excist in English and I don’t understand why ithey put it on this list in the first place as there are so many other words that doesn’t translate well into English. I can relate to the German word “schadenfreude” as we have the same word in Norwegian – skadefryd.

  • http://twitter.com/SimpleLivingEat Diane

    Great reminder of how much language embodies culture. I love how we humans are so much the same and so different too. That a people decided to create a word to express a very specific feeling tell you how important that feeling is to those people.

  • http://twitter.com/byersj09 Julia

    Love these!