What's in a word?
Often, I find myself grappling to find a word to describe feelings-- whether it's an emotion or the way our senses work, or anything else. In the end, I'm only ever able to come up with a series of jumbled words that barely make any sense in attempt to describe what I'm feeling.
But as it turns out, the language English really just isn't quite as good at describing things fully, especially when it comes to emotions Foreign langues have so many beautiful words that can describe exactly how you're feeling without the jumbled sentences-- which is incredible. So, here is a list of some of these amazing words that have no direct translation in English. And you can feel validated in having these weird feelings-- they must be common if there's an actual word for them!
1. L'esprit de l'escalier (French)
Literally, "staircase wit." Figuratively, that moment after an argument when you think of the perfect retort, but it's too late.
2. Psithurism (Greek)
The ruffling sound of leaves in the wind.
3. Koi No Yokan (Japanese)
Sort of like the feeling of love at first sight-- it's when you meet someone and feel like you can't help but fall in love with them.
4. Backpfeifengesicht (German)
It literally means a face in need of a fist. We all know a guy.
5. Razbliuto (Russian)
The feeling you have for someone you loved once, but that you don't love anymore.
6. Gigil (Filipino)
That weird urge we all feel to pinch something that's really, really cute.
7. Jayus (Indonesian)
When a joke is so unfunny that you actually laugh. Basically, The Big Bang Theory.
8. Pana Po'o (Hawaiian)
When someone scratches their head when they're trying to remember where they left something. So weird, but apparently we all do it.
9. Saudade (Portuguese)
That longing, nostalgic feeling you have when a person or place or thing is loved and lost.
10. Torschlusspanik (German)
Literally "gate-closing panic," this word means the feeling that there will be less and less opportunities as you age. Terrifying.
11. Seigneur-terraces (French)
This word refers to people who sit in coffee shops for a long time without really spending a lot of money.
12. Pena ajena (Spanish)
Essentially, second-hand embarrassment. It's that moment when you feel embarrassed for another person.
13. Fargin (Yiddish)
To genuinely appreciate and respect the success of other people.
14. L'appel du vide (French)
Literally "the call of the void," this expression is often used to describe the urge to jump from a high place.
15. Ya’arburnee (Arabic)
Though it literally means "may you bury me," this word is that hopeful feeling that you will die before the person you love.
16. Shouganai (Japanese)
The idea that if something cannot be helped and there's nothing you can do, then why should you worry about it?
17. Hyggelig (Danish)
Something that must be experienced to know. Like being curled up in front of a fireplace, the feeling of hanging out with good friends, etc.
18. Litost (Czech)
A sort of self-torment that combines the feelings of grief, sympathy, remorse and longing. Basically, the worst feeling ever.
19. Cavoli Riscaldati (Italian)
The end result of trying to work out an old relationship that fell apart. This is that feeling after you message someone you used to be best friends with, but things just don't click like they used to.
20. Luftmensch (Yiddish)
A person with their head in the clouds. This word refers to dreamers who have no business drive.
21. Tampo (Filipino)
When you stop showing affection towards someone after they hurt your feelings.
22. Cafune (Brazilian Portuguese)
The act of running your fingers through your lover's hair.
23. Tartle (Scottish)
That awkward moment when you hesitate when you're introducing someone because you just realized you forgot their name.
24. Schadenfreude (German)
The joy you feel when you hear or see about other people's pain and troubles. So don't feel too bad after this happens, if there's a word for it, then a lot of us definitely also feel it.
25. Mamihlapinatapei (Yagan)
“The wordless, yet meaningful look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start.” (Altalang.com)
26. Lagom (Swedish)
Not too much, not too little-- just right. The Goldilocks of words.
27. Bilita Mpash (Bantu)
The opposite of a nightmare-- in other words, an amazingly awesome fantastic dream.
29. Gattara (Italian)
A cat lady! The Italians actually have a word for an old lady who is lonely and takes care of stray cats.
30. Won (Korean)
The certain reluctance a person feels to let go of an illusion. Think Harry looking into the Mirror of Erised.
31. Fernweh (German)
When you feel homesick for a place you've never been to.
32. Hanyauku (Rukwangali)
The act of walking on your tiptoes across warm sand. Mmmm.
33. Aware (Japanese)
The bittersweet feeling when you see brief or fading transcendent beauty. Think of the way the clouds looked during a sunset that one time, or the way the light fell through the trees that other time. It's beautiful, but tragically brief.
34. Schlimazl (Yiddish)
A person with a chronic case of bad luck. AKA: me.
36. Pochemuchka (Russian)
A person who asks too many questions. AKA: my grandma.
37. Bakku-shan (Japanese)
A girl who is beautiful, but only from behind. Rude, tbh..
38. Friolero (Spanish)
A person susceptible to being cold and is sensitive to cold weather.
39. Ilunga (Tshiluba)
Someone who willingly forgives an abuse the first time, tolerates it a second time, but never does the third time.
40. Waldeinsamkeit (German)
The mysterious, isolated feeling of being alone in the woods. A feeling I hope to never feel.