These Foreign Words Will Perfectly Describe What You're Feeling
Sometimes it's hard to think of the perfect English word to describe a particular emotion. Thankfully, lots of other languages can come to your rescue. If you've been looking for a specific word that describes that strange thrill after meeting someone new or an intense longing for home, you've come to the right place. Learn about some of the most unusual words around the globe used to express highly specific emotions.
Ever feel super depressed? There’s a word for that in Russian — "toska." But "toska" goes way beyond sadness. It’s a yearning that makes you restless for someone or something missing in your life. Being deeply nostalgic or lovesick might require the word "toska."
Starting a small lovers’ quarrel to score some extra affection that quickly leads to making up is referred to in Tamil as "oodal." The main goal of the conflict is to get one person (usually a man) to apologize first before moving on to a happy reconciliation.
It's always so hard when someone you care about is gone but so thrilling when you have the opportunity to see that person again after being apart. The Basque people living in the Pyrenees mountain region between France and Spain have a word for that joy: "aspaldiko."
If your parents ever gushed with immense pride after you'd won first place in the science fair, were picked as the lead in your school play or graduated from kindergarten, then they "kvelled." Coming from the German "quellen," it means to "gush" or "swell" with pride.
The Tagalog word "kilig" means "to tremble with excitement or nervousness." But when Filipinos use "kilig," it has an even more specific meaning: that nervous feeling that rolls around when you have an initial romantic attraction to someone.
Do you know someone who's got all the answers and can always come up with a witty retort? The Hungarian language calls this "pihentagyú," which translates to "relaxed brain" or "well-rested brain." It describes people who are able to quickly come up with clever ideas. They're usually out-of-the-box thinkers.
One of the most common words used to express emotion in the Indonesian language is "anjir." The word doesn't have one specific meaning, but people use it to express many emotions associated with shock or surprise. "Anjir" is often used as a swear word.
In the Tibetan language, the word "tonglen" means "giving and receiving." But this word isn’t referring to gifts. "Tonglen" describes receiving the emotional pain or suffering of others, taking it and transforming it into compassion, love or joy. The word is often used when discussing the practice of "tonglen" in Tibetan Buddhism.
The Portuguese language has a word that describes an intense longing for someone or something that you have loved and lost but can never have again: "saudade." This word brings up intense emotions of melancholy as someone thinks back on a past relationship or beloved memento that's gone forever.
During Finland's cold winter months it can be hard to muster up the mental or physical energy to do anything. The Finns came up with the word "jaksaa" to describe internal fortitude. "Jaksaa" literally means "to be able to muster up the strength" or "have the energy" to do something.
If you've been searching for the perfect word to describe "forgiveness" without being a sap, "ilunga" might just be what you're looking for. It's a word used in the African language of Tshiluba to describe a willingness to forgive someone for any abuse the first time, tolerate the abuse a second time but never to forgive or tolerate a third time.
The summer months in India bring monsoon rains that soak everything. "Rimjhim" is a colloquial word in the Hindi language used to describe constant showers or drizzle. But "rimjhim" has a deeper emotional meaning with no English equivalent.
Did you ever have one of those days when you felt really good about the work you had done? The Danes describe this as "arbejdsglaede." This word is a combination of the two words "arbejd" (to work) and "glaede" (joy). "Arbejdsglaede" also means to be happy about heading off to work each day and enjoying your job.
"Meraki" is a Greek word that describes expressing your emotions through your work or through something you’ve created. The word originated from the Turkish language and means "a labor of love" or "the essence of yourself that is put into your work."
When there's a stormy day, Slovenians might use the word "vedriti," which means "taking shelter from the rain and waiting for it to clear up." While "vedriti" can be used to describe running for cover when the skies open up, it's also a metaphor that means "to wait for a bad mood to pass."
The Arabic word "ya'aburnee" translates to "you bury me." But don't worry. It's not as morbid a word as it sounds. "Ya'aburnee" describes a feeling of love that’s so intense you cannot think of living without the other person.
The French have a word for those times when you're feeling out of sorts after leaving your homeland. The word is "depaysement." It's not quite the same as homesickness, but rather a feeling of unease. The word's literal meaning is "to be uncountried."
Respect is a very important part of Thai culture. If you’re not getting sufficient attention from the people you care about, the word "nauuy-jai" might be the perfect description. The word roughly translates to "pain in the spiritual heart." It can also be used to explain how you feel when someone doesn’t act toward you as they should.
In Hebrew, the word "firgun" means you show an intense generosity or feeling of joy when something good has happened to somebody else. It's all about being joyful for someone else's good fortune without having any ulterior motive. In English it might be described as "tooting someone else's horn."
When a group of people know an uncomfortable fact but manage to steer clear of it in order to spare someone’s feelings, that's "mokita." The loss of a job, the ending of a relationship or some other painful personal situation that family and friends try to avoid are just a few examples of "mokita."
The yearning to go back to a place from long ago that is now so different that revisiting it will cause grief is known in the Welsh language of Cymraeg as "hiraeth." The word translates to "missing home." A similar concept in English is the saying, "you can never go home again."
"Duende" describes that intense feeling of emotion that comes over someone while experiencing something creative, such as art or music. The word originally referred to a mischievous imp or spirit popular in Spanish folklore, known as the "dueno de casa," (possessor of the house) that could suddenly take over a person’s body and create joy.
"Litost" is one of the saddest words in the Czech language. It describes a feeling of extreme depression when someone casually reminds you of what has gone wrong in your life. The literal meaning of "litost" is "regret."
If you ever had to come up with a fast excuse during a sticky situation, the word "erklärungsnot" might just apply. It means "explanation emergency" or "explanation poverty." "Erklärungsnot" is often used to describe anyone whose excuse seems ever-so-slightly sketchy.
That feeling of excitement prior to a fun event is what the Dutch fondly refer to as "voorpret." Translated into English, "voorpret" means "pleasurable anticipation." It's the emotion you encounter when looking forward to a special event. "Voorpret" can really describe anything enjoyable that you'll be experiencing in the future.
Sa Jiao (Chinese)
Translated from Chinese, "sa jiao" means "to act like a spoiled child." The phrase now has a much different meaning and refers to a grown woman who pouts, whines or stomps her feet. "Sa jiao" also includes requests for help when help isn't really needed.
The Urdu word "goya" sums up the suspension of disbelief. It's when, just for a brief moment in time, fantasy suddenly seems to become reality. This untranslatable word is usually used to describe the emotion we feel when we are swept away by a great book or movie.
An intimate look between two people who have deep feelings for one another but are too shy to express themselves can be described as "mamihlapinatapai." It's a look of unspoken understanding between a couple, with the hope that one will step up and openly share their feelings.
Do you know the feeling of anticipating someone's arrival? The Inuit language knows this emotion as "iktsuarpok." It's that intense excitement or restlessness that makes you repeatedly open and close the door or look out the window every few minutes as you eagerly wait for someone to show up.
It's happened to us all: that uncomfortable moment when you forget someone’s name. The Scottish have the word "tartle" to describe this awkward situation. The word translates as "to hesitate when recognizing a person or thing." Saying the word "tartle" helps avoid embarrassment for all involved.