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Home Columns Culture Appealing untranslatable words to add in your dictionary

Appealing untranslatable words to add in your dictionary

Last updated 3 weeks ago by Michael Darmanin

At times, we feel short of words to express our feelings, desires, situations or any life experience. There are lots of words that our own language can’t depict the deeper meanings and emotions perfectly. Hence, accurate translation becomes a difficult task. Fortunately, different languages fill this lexical gap. In this pandemic, take a trip of words from different countries. Replace your feelings with quirky terms. Add some words of foreign origin in your kitty! It will surely appease your vocabulary.

Let’s embark the journey of words that have become trending art of practice:

Niksen

Wondering that carelessly lounging on sofa, humming the tune, gazing outside the window or strolling purposelessly can be a relaxing activity. Yes it is! Niksen literally translates to “doing nothing”. It tops this list because it has become a Dutch lifestyle concept and a relaxation technique. It is the effortless way to fight stress and burn-out. Embrace the power of being idle. To learn more about it, read Niksen. Do niks. One of the most liberating experiences to be with oneself.

Feel the serenity. Photo by Amy Treasure on UnSplash.com

Hygge

Hygge represents comfiest and cozy environment. The ritual of enjoying life’s simple pleasures. It has now become a national obsession and an impeccable Danish lifestyle. Think of the moments when you enjoy warm tea on a rainy day, read your favourite book, a soothing hot shower after a tiring day, cooking a comfort food, comfortable and pleasant times with your family and friends, taking a long walk, unconditional love of your pet, lightning a candle, warmth of your grandparents, the comforting feeling of blanket on winter mornings or just feeling safe and content with your loved ones. You have unknowingly experienced Hygge! Feel the Hygge with ordinary yet the best moments. Read more about it in The Little Book of Hygge.

Hands curled around a cup of warm tea, coffee or hot cocoa. Yeah, it’s Hygge. Photo by Allison Christine on UnSplash.com

Ikigai

A Japanese term closely related with ‘the reason you get up in the morning.’ Ikigai comprises of two words: ‘iki’- life, alive and ‘kai’ (sequentially voiced as ‘gai’) – effect/result which means “a reason for being alive.” It directs to have a purpose in life that eventually motivates to develop oneself. Know yourself, your feelings, your thoughts. Develop daily rituals, your values and a state of mind that can lead to a happy and satisfactory life. Reflect on things you would like to do for yourself, for your personal well-being and keeps you going to pursue your goals. Concentrate on small but yet so important things. Make the most of today. Find your Ikigai. Claimed as Japanese secret to a long and happy life, the book is an international bestseller.

Find purpose and meaning of your life. Photo by Content Pixie on UnSplash.com

Sisu

The word with Finnish roots means inner strength. Sisu refers to determination, bravery, courage and will power at the time of extreme difficulties. A mindset which enables individuals to see beyond their present potentials. An integral element of Finnish culture and the capabilities that lies within every individual.

Scandinavian and Nordic Terms:

Lagom: (Swedish) “Just Right”, not too much not too little; balanced.

Fika: (Swedish) A coffee break with friends, colleagues or family.

Lykke: A Danish word for Happiness.

Gökotta: (Swedish) waking up early to hear bird’s singing and enjoy nature.

Peiskos: (Norwegian) The feeling of well being attained from enjoying the warmth of the fireplace.

Gulggaveour: (Icelandic) A weather that looks so nice and picturesque through the window, until you’re actually outside in it.

Words from Greek Origin:

Meraki: To put soul, love and creativity in the work you do.

Eudaimonia: “human flourishing”; a contented state of being happy, healthy and prosperous.

Eunoia: It exhibits to beautiful thinking and well balanced mind.

Kalon: Beauty that is more than skin-deep.

Kefi: The spirit of joy, enthusiasm and high spirits, in which good times and passion for life are expressed with abundant excitement, happiness and fun.

Ataraxia: A state of freedom from emotional disturbance and anxiety; tranquility.

Japanese Words:

Tsundoku: The act of buying books and not reading them. Letting them pile up.

japanese words
Komorebi: Sunshine that filters through leaves of trees. Photo by Natali Panichkina on UnSplash.com

Wabi-Sabi: Finding beauty in imperfections.

Ukiyo: “Living in the moment”; detached from the bothers of life.

Majime: An earnest, reliable person who can simply get things done without causing drama.

Yūgen: An awareness of the Universe that brings feelings too deep to be explained.

Portuguese Palvaras

Saudade: Melancholic longing or nostalgia for a person, place or thing that is far from you. It was once described as “the love that remains” or “the love that stays” after someone is gone.

Cafuné: A Brazilian Portuguese word means running your fingers through the hair of someone you love.

Nefelibata: One who lives in the clouds of their own imagination or dreams. An unconventional unorthodox person.

Filipino Fever

Kiling: The sudden feeling of joy one gets when something romantic occurs. Butterflies in one’s stomach.

Gigil: The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is irresistibly cute.

Alpas: To break free from confines.

Take Cues from Hindi

Dharma refers to one’s duty in life and Karma is one’s deed or actions. What goes around comes around! Photo by Content Pixie on UnSplash.com

Namaste (नमस्ते): The world might know it as a form of greeting but it has more insights. It says “My soul honors your soul and I bow to the divine in you.”

Do the Namaskaram. Photo by Mor Shani on UnSplash.com

Raabta (राब्ता): Inexplicable connection with another soul.

Moksha (मोक्ष): Liberation from eternal cycle of rebirth and reincarnation.

Jijivisha (जिजीविषा): The strong desire to live and continue living.

Nirvana (निर्वाण): The state of perfect peace, harmony and happiness with the world. Enlightenment.

Rim-Zhim (रिम झिम): The pitter-patter of a light drizzle.

Guzarish (गुज़ारिश): An earnest request.

Few more….

Strumfrei: A German word for the ability to be alone; the freedom to do what your heart desires. Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on UnSplash.com

Verschlimmbessern: To make something worse during the act of trying to improve it.

Feeling drowsy after a heavy meal, Italians have a word for it: Abbiocco. Certainly, “Food Coma.”

Retrouvailles: the joy and the happiness of meeting or finding someone again after a long separation. Rediscovery. Photo by Helena Lopes on UnSplash.com

Pochemuchka: A Russian term for the child who asks too many questions.

Mizpah: A word from Hebrew language describes the deep and emotional bond between people, especially those separated by distance or death.

Anam Cara (Gaelic): A person with whom you can share your deepest thoughts, feelings and dreams; your soul friend.

Dapjeongneo (Korean): When somebody has already decided the answer they want to hear after asking a question and waiting for you to say that exact answer.

Trepverter (Yiddish): A witty comeback you think of only when it’s too late to use. Photo by Diego PH on UnSplash.com

Apricity: A Latin term for Sun basking. The best term to mark the warmth of the Sun in winter.

Mokita: The truth everyone knows but agrees not to talk about.

My Favorites

Gunnen: To witness or acknowledge someone’s success without envy or grudge, to appreciate the deserved person.

Ya’ aburnee: This Arabic word has my heart. It is a declaration that one person hopes to die before another, as it would be unbearable to live without them.

If you want to share the terms you know, feel free to drop in the Comments Section till then

Carpe Diem!

Krutika Jadeja Hirani
Krutika Jadeja Hirani
Born and raised in India, I am Electronics & Communication Engineer. New Technologies, Travelling, Reading, Dancing, Relishing Different Culture and Making Delicious Meals are the things that fascinate me the most. Caught by Wanderlust bug, I would describe myself as a "Flaneur" I am passionately curious about exploring new horizons. Dance keeps my creative flare intact. Reading and Travelling helps me to narrate tales that motivate. Having a Papyrophilia, I love to hoard stationeries. I am here, to make a difference through my writings, share ideas and hope to inspire. I live by this quote:"Pen is mightier than Sword."

4 COMMENTS

  1. I think that your article is Excelentè, Senora Krutika..
    Gracias for sharing such good information 😀
    Salud✌️

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