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Untranslatable Words in English

Posted by Starexplosion81 on March 13, 2014 at 4:50 AM

Hey everyone!

I was doing random google searches, and I came across this article, which interested me a great deal. English being my mother tongue, I've always wondered what other words we could have added to the language. Turns out, they're words in other languages that are more convenient than English, here are some.



Cafuné is Brazilian Portuguese. It’s described as “The act of tenderly running one’s fingers through someone’s hair.” A word like this in English could actually be very popular. How cool would that be?


Ayurnamat is Inuit and it’s a word describing the philosophy that there is no reason to worry about the things that can’t be changed. This is sort of like the word Hakuna Matata, but thats pretty over-used so I suggest trying Ayurnamat instead!


Prozvonit is Czech and it means to call a cell phone and let it ring once or twice so the person will call back, saving the first person caller money. The concept is quite confusing, and isn't exactly proper Czech grammar.


Jayus is Indonesian and it refers to a joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but to laugh. I love this word! It's really convenient, and it happens a lot with cheesy jokes.



Dépaysement is French for the feeling that comes from not being in one’s home country. So instead of homesick, it’s home countrysick! I think the translators could’ve managed to translate that one!



Donaldkacsázás is Hungarian and it literally means “Donald Duck-ing,” aka wearing a shirt but no pants nor underpants at home. It’s hilarious that the Hungarians actually came up with that and made it an official word! Nice to say, don't you think?



Saudade is a Portuguese word that describes the feeling of longing for something or someone whom you love and which is lost. I’m not sure how to pronounce it, but I’m sure it sounds absolutely romantic.



Hyggelig is a Danish word that describes a feeling of openness, warmth and friendship often between friends. I love that feeling. I wish it were a word in English. It’s so hard to describe emotions, and Hyggelig is a perfect word describing those warm and comfortable feelings you get among friends.



Tartle is Scottish! It’s the act of hesitating while introducing someone because you’ve forgotten his or her name. We've probably done this once are twice…. in general it's just a handy word to have around.



Yoisho is a Japanese word that has no exact meaning. It’s what the Japanese say when they flop onto their seat after a long day. It’s the equivalent of a long exhale or a loud grunt.



Mokita is a New Guinean word describing the truth everyone knows but nobody says. I think it’s similar to the English phrase “there’s an elephant in the room.”



Gheegle is a Filipino word that refers to something that is so ridiculously cute that you want to squeeze it! I would use this word when describing cute kitties, puppies, and children! It’s a funny word that I think the English language should adopt. It's a lot better than describing it, and the word sounds cool by itself!




Age-otori is Japanese and it means to look worse after a haircut. Sort of funny they created this into an actual word.


Finally there’s Pochemuchka! It’s a Russian word that means "a person who asks too many questions." I know a few Pochemuchkas I wish would mind their own business sometimes! Is there an untranslatable word for that?!

Others from commentors:

HULL @rgsbigbook:

"hull" is what students say when a teacher gives too much homework, like equivalent to us saying "ugh" and "aish" is sort of like the equivalent of "jeez" you can say it for many reasons (if i remember correctly) and "aigoo" is mainly used by older people. I've heard them use it when they're hot from the weather or when young adults & teenagers do something stupid or something shocking happens, so I think it's similar a slightly dramatic "omg"


Sacar los trapitos al sol". And it's veeeeery common. The meaning of it is to say the truth about something to someone and be completely honest with each other without lying.

Categories: Explosion's Corner

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