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Untranslatable Words

Untranslatable Words

Most words in the world can be translated from one language to another. However, there are some words that are simply untranslatable because they are special to the country they come from and there are no words in other languages to describe them. This article will tell you about the most interesting of these, to teach you some cool new concepts.


Hygge is a Danish word, which refers to the atmosphere you get when you have some candles, some blankets, good food and great friends. It is the feeling of happiness you get when you feel safe and warm. This concept might explain why Danes are the biggest consumers of candles in the world.


Fernweh is a German word which describes the feeling you get when you miss a place you have never been to. When you are sitting in your room and it is raining outside and you are longing for sunny California or the beaches of Fiji, even though you have never been there, you are feeling fernweh.


Culaccino is the Italian word for the ring of condensation left on a warm table by a cold drink.


In Indonesian, a joke which is so bad or told so badly that you cannot help laughing is called a jayus. The closest translation to English would probably be ‘Dad-humour’


Goya is an Urdu word, which refers to the feeling you get when you hear a story that is so good that you forget reality and imagine yourself in the story. Urdu is the national language of Pakistan where many great stories and mysteries originate, so a lot of Pakistanis probably feel Goya.


Schimazl is a Yiddish word which refers to that friend you have who is always falling or losing money or forgeting something. It is a person who is unlucky no matter what they do.


Friolero is Spanish for a person who is always cold, no matter how warm the room is.


Kaapshljmurslis is Latvian for the situation on the London Tube every morning when there are so many people on the train that you cannot move even one bit.


A Kyoikumama is Japanese for a mum who is trying very hard to make her children do well in school.


If any of you have a little sister or brother you will probably know what a pochemuchka is; it is a person who asks too many questions, often without waiting for the answer.


Tartle is the Scottish expression for when you are trying to introduce two friends to each other, but you have to pause because you forgot one of their names.


Travelling is fun, but sometimes when you are out in the world, you can experience a sadness because you miss your own country. This French word describes that feeling.


The last word on this list of untranslatable words is Duende – A Spanish word that refers to the moment when you look at beautiful art and it gives you feelings you weren’t expecting


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