Last year I did a post that listed 20 untranslatable words from other languages. The post got a lot of attention (mostly thanks to naysayers denying the ‘untranslatable’ label), so I thought I would do a follow-up with more words from around the world.
While a debate could linger on about whether or not there is a synonym in another language that means approximately the same thing, like all languages, colloquial expression is relative to the area where the word originated.
So here’s a new list of words that are inherent to their language of origin, for your appreciation. Now let’s see how many of them you can translate…
1. Age-otori (Japanese)
To look worse after a haircut
2. Sgriob (Gaelic)
The itchiness that overcomes the upper lip just before taking a sip of whisky
3. L’esprit de l’escalier (French)
Translated as ‘staircase wit’, the act of thinking of a clever comeback when it is too late to deliver it.
4. Pochemuchka (Russian)
A person who asks a lot of questions
5. Tingo (Pascuense language of Easter Island)
To borrow objects one by one from a neighbor’s house until there is nothing left in it
6. Mamihlapinatapai (Yaghan, southern Chile)
A look between two people suggesting an unspoken desire
7. Gigil (Tagalog)
The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is unbearably cute such as a kitten or a beautiful girl
8. Waldeinsamkeit (German)
The feeling of being alone in the woods
9. Kyoikumama (Japanese)
A mother who relentlessly pushes her children toward academic achievement
10. Duende (Spanish)
The emotions one feels when they are deeply moved by art.