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.

Tingo

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com

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

Duende

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com

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

Forelsket

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com

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

Content continues below ad

Gigil

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com

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

Ilunga

Nicole 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

Nicole 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)

Content continues below ad

Litost

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com

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

Nunchi

Nicole 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

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com

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

Content continues below ad

Pochemuchka

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com

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

Sgriob

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com

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)

Content continues below ad

View as Slideshow

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you this newsletter. For more information please read our privacy policy.