Words We Should Steal From Other Languages

The online publication Ethnologue reports that there are currently  7,151 living languages in the world, so it stands to reason that other languages would have words with no English equivalents. Occasionally I find examples of this, and today I’ve found more in “38 Wonderful Words With No English Equivalent” by Bill DeMain on the Pocket website (https://getpocket.com/explore/item/38-wonderful-words-with-no-english-equivalent?). Here are some examples —

1. Kummerspeck (German)
Excess weight gained from emotional overeating. Literally, grief bacon.

2. Shemomedjamo (Georgian)
You know when you’re really full, but your meal is just so delicious, you can’t stop eating it? The Georgians feel your pain. This word means, “I accidentally ate the whole thing.”

5. Backpfeifengesicht (German)
A face badly in need of a fist.

11. Gigil (Filipino)
The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is irresistibly cute.

12. Yuputka (Ulwa)
A word made for walking in the woods at night, it’s the phantom sensation of something crawling on your skin.

19. Bakku-shan (Japanese)
Or there’s this Japanese slang term, which describes the experience of seeing a woman who appears pretty from behind but not from the front.

22. Pana Po’o (Hawaiian)
“Hmm, now where did I leave those keys?” he said, pana po’oing. It means to scratch your head in order to help you remember something you’ve forgotten.

29. L’esprit de l’escalier (French)
Literally, stairwell wit—a too-late retort thought of only after departure.

33. Cavoli Riscaldati (Italian)
The result of attempting to revive an unworkable relationship. Translates to “reheated cabbage.”

These are direct quotes, and you can decide how wonderful they are.

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