22 Words

Foreign words with no specific English translation, describing experiences we all have [11 pictures]

Aug 27, 2013 By Abraham 8

Using examples from the book “Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages,” the folks at Maptia illustrated several words from other languages that have enjoyably precise meanings — words that encapsulate experiences that in English we don’t have such a concise way to describe.

We all have these experiences, and now, if we borrow some vocabulary, we can have fun, new ways to talk about them.

Walking in the woods…

Non-english words with surprisingly specific meanings - 01

Having a drink…

Non-english words with surprisingly specific meanings - 02

Waiting for someone…

Non-english words with surprisingly specific meanings - 03

Sitting in the shade…

Non-english words with surprisingly specific meanings - 04

Being in class or having kids…

Non-english words with surprisingly specific meanings - 05

Sharing a meal…

Non-english words with surprisingly specific meanings - 06

Tolerating “dad jokes”…

Non-english words with surprisingly specific meanings - 07

Forgetting something…

Non-english words with surprisingly specific meanings - 08

Traveling abroad…

Non-english words with surprisingly specific meanings - 09

Enjoying fiction…

Non-english words with surprisingly specific meanings - 10

Staring at the sea at nighttime…

Non-english words with surprisingly specific meanings - 11

(via This Isn’t Happiness)

8 Comments

  1. Pablo Morales says:

    Having spent decades in México and the good ol’ USA there are two words in spanish that do not have an equivalent in english:
    “Desvelarse”: Stayin’ up ’til very late at night, sleeping only a short period of time. To be “desvelado” is the feeling of tiredness and lack of concentracion due to said lack of sleep. Usually goes with a lot of yawning.
    “Empalagar” is the rejection of a very enoyable type of food, after consuming it repeatedly. You say “Ya no, estoy empalagado” (No more, I am “empalagado”).
    Glad to be of service.

    Pablo F. Morales, M.D.

  2. nomad says:

    In the Goya card, what is the word between “occur” and “in”? If it’s “i.e”, you need another period and some commas.

  3. nomad says:

    Not that “i.e.” would even make sense. “E.g.” would make more sense, but you don’t need either.

  4. Matt says:

    A whole page of “no specific English translation” words, each one accompanied by a succinct English phrase explaining exactly what they mean …

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