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

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

Duende

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

Forelsket

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

Gigil

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

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Ilunga

Ilunga
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’escalier
Usually translated as “staircase wit,” it is the act of thinking of a clever comeback when it is too late to deliver it. (French)

Litost

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

Nunchi

Nunchi
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)

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Pena Ajena

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

Pochemuchka

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

Sgriob

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

Waldeinsamkeit

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

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