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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Tingo

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

Duende

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A climactic show of spirit such as in flamenco dancing or bull-fighting. (Spanish)

Forelsket

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Not just love; the euphoria you feel when you first fall in love. (Norwegian)

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Gigil

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

Ilunga

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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

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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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Litost

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A state of torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery. (Czech)

Nunchi

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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

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The embarrassment you feel watching someone else’s humiliation. (Spanish)

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Pochemuchka

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A person who asks a lot of questions. (Russian)

Sgriob

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The itchiness that overcomes the upper lip before taking a sip of whiskey. (Gaelic)

Waldeinsamkeit

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com

The feeling of being alone in the woods. (German)


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