12 Untranslatable Words We Love

These wonderful words from all over the world have no direct English translation or equivalent, but oh how we wish they did.

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TingoNicole Fornabaio/Rd.com
To borrow objects one by one from a neighbor’s house until there is nothing left. (Pascuense language of Easter Island)


DuendeNicole Fornabaio/Rd.com
A climactic show of spirit such as in flamenco dancing or bull-fighting. (Spanish)


ForelsketNicole Fornabaio/Rd.com
Not just love; the euphoria you feel when you first fall in love. (Norwegian)

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GigilNicole Fornabaio/Rd.com
Pronounced "gheegle", it's the urge to pinch or squeeze something that is unbearably cute. (Filipino)


IlungaNicole Fornabaio/Rd.com
A person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time. (Tshiluba, Congo)

L’esprit de l’escalier

L’esprit de l’escalierNicole Fornabaio/Rd.com
Usually translated as “staircase wit,” it is the act of thinking of a clever comeback when it is too late to deliver it. (French)

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LitostNicole Fornabaio/Rd.com
A state of torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery. (Czech)


NunchiNicole Fornabaio/Rd.com
The subtle art of listening and gauging another’s mood. Knowing what to say or do, or what not to say or do, in a given situation. (Korean)

Pena Ajena

Pena AjenaNicole Fornabaio/Rd.com
The embarrassment you feel watching someone else’s humiliation. (Spanish)

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PochemuchkaNicole Fornabaio/Rd.com
A person who asks a lot of questions. (Russian)


SgriobNicole Fornabaio/Rd.com
The itchiness that overcomes the upper lip before taking a sip of whiskey. (Gaelic)


WaldeinsamkeitNicole Fornabaio/Rd.com
The feeling of being alone in the woods. (German)

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