+
14 awesome words we don't have in the English language but that we definitely need

Do you ever notice that there is beauty to be found in the imperfections of life? That the changes that come with the natural process of growth and decay are something that we should embrace, or even celebrate, instead of fight?

The Japanese have a term for that idea—wabi sabi. A concept that takes a couple dozen words to explain English is summed up in just four syllables in Japanese.

The diversity of human languages can be fun to explore, especially when you come across words or phrases that don't translate directly or that take far more words to describe in your own tongue. There are some things that are named in other languages that we just don't have words for in English.

For instance, here are 14 awesome words that would come in super handy sometimes.


(Note: pronunciations are using English phonetics, which don't perfectly reflect the way they sound in the original languages.)


Arbejdsglæde (Danish)

Pronounced [ah-bites-gleh-the]

The satisfaction, fulfillment, or happiness you get from a job that you love. Literally and simply "job joy" (though no one ever seems to use that phrase in the U.S.).


Backpfeifengesicht (German)

Pronounced [back-fifen-ge-zisht]

A person whose face is just begging to be slapped really hard. Such a useful term.


Cafuné (Brazilian Portuguese)

Pronounced [KAH-foo-neh]
The act of tenderly running your fingers through a loved one's hair. Awww.

Fernweh (German)

(pronounced "feirn-vey")

Literally means "far sick." Homesickness for a place you've never been before. A deeper feeling than simple wanderlust.


Fisselig (German)

Pronounced [fi-sel-ig]

Being flustered to the point of being unable to function. Been there.


Fuubutsushi (Japanese)

Pronounced [foo-boot-soo-shee]

Something—a feeling, scent, or image—that reminds you of or makes you yearn for a particular season. (Pumpkin spice, for example.)


Gezelligheid (Dutch)

Pronounced [ge-zel-lig-hide]

That warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you're hanging out with friends or family whose company you truly enjoy. Something we all missed during lockdowns.


Hyppytyynytyydytys (Finnish)

Pronounced [hyp-ya-teyrna-teyrna-dish]

Seriously the best word ever with the best meaning ever. It means the pleasure and satisfaction you get from sitting on a bouncy cushion. Ha!


Iktsuarpok (Inuit)

Pronounced [Ikt-soo-ar-poke]

The feeling of anticipation when you're waiting for someone to arrive and keep checking the door to see if they're there. A universal phenomenon.


Jijivisha (Hindi)

Pronounced [ji-ji-vi-sha]

The intense desire to live life to its fullest, to continuously live in the highest state of being. Nice.

Kummerspeck (German)

Pronounced [koo-mer--speck]

The weight you gain from emotional overeating. Literally—and fittingly—translates as "grief bacon."


Meraki (Greek)

Pronounced [murr-ahh-key]

Pouring yourself so wholeheartedly into something with soul, creativity, or love that you leave a piece of yourself in your work.


Shemomedjamo (Georgian)

Pronounced [sheh–mo–med–JAH–mo]

That feeling when a food tastes so good you can't stop eating it. Literally translates to "I accidentally ate the whole thing." Perfect.


Tsundoku (Japanese)

Pronounced [Tsoon-doh-koo]

Buying a bunch of books or other reading material and letting them pile up, unread. Now I just feel like Japan is spying on me.


There are countless words like this in various languages around the world, terms that don't simply translate over into English without a whole explanation. But some might be surprised to find that we have words for things in English that we simply don't use all that often. For example, did you know there's a word for that amazing smell that accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather? It's called petrichor. There's also a word for the appealing, wistful mysteriousness of old bookshops—vellichor.

Or how about ultracrepidarian—a person who expresses opinions on matters outside the scope of their knowledge or expertise? We could have used that term about a hundred thousand times this year.

While we're adding these cool foreign words to our lexicon, maybe we should dig a little deeper into English to find words we didn't even know existed. (Then perhaps we can get to work choosing a universal language we can all learn along with our native tongues so we can easily communicate with each other everywhere we go while still retaining our beautiful cultural expressions. Wouldn't that make life on Earth so much easier?)


This article originally appeared on 09.06.17


Being married is like being half of a two-headed monster. It's impossible to avoid regular disagreements when you're bound to another person for the rest of your life. Even the perfect marriage (if there was such a thing) would have its daily frustrations. Funnily enough, most fights aren't caused by big decisions but the simple, day-to-day questions, such as "What do you want for dinner?"; "Are we free Friday night?"; and "What movie do you want to see?"

Here are some hilarious tweets that just about every married couple will understand.

Keep ReadingShow less
Democracy

A man told me gun laws would create more 'soft targets.' He summed up the whole problem.

As far as I know, there are only two places in the world where people living their lives are referred to as 'soft targets.'

Photo by Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash

Only in America are kids in classrooms referred to as "soft targets."

On the Fourth of July, a gunman opened fire at a parade in quaint Highland Park, Illinois, killing at least six people, injuring dozens and traumatizing (once again) an entire nation.

My family member who was at the parade was able to flee to safety, but the trauma of what she experienced will linger. For the toddler with the blood-soaked sock, carried to safety by a stranger after being pulled from under his father's bullet-torn body, life will never be the same.

There's a phrase I keep seeing in debates over gun violence, one that I can't seem to shake from my mind. After the Uvalde school shooting, I shared my thoughts on why arming teachers is a bad idea, and a gentleman responded with this brief comment:

"Way to create more soft targets."

Keep ReadingShow less

Paul Rudd in 2016.

Passing around your yearbook to have it signed by friends, teachers and classmates is a fun rite of passage for kids in junior high and high school. But, according to KDVR, for Brody Ridder, a bullied sixth grader at The Academy of Charter Schools in Westminster, Colorado, it was just another day of putting up with rejection.

Poor Brody was only able to get four signatures in his yearbook, two from what appeared to be teachers and one from himself that said, “Hope you make some more friends."

Brody’s mom, Cassandra Ridder has been devastated by the bullying her son has faced over the past two years. "There [are] kids that have pushed him and called him names," she told The Washington Post. It has to be terrible to have your child be bullied and there is nothing you can do.

She posted about the incident on Facebook.

“My poor son. Doesn’t seem like it’s getting any better. 2 teachers and a total of 2 students wrote in his yearbook,” she posted on Facebook. “Despite Brody asking all kinds of kids to sign it. So Brody took it upon himself to write to himself. My heart is shattered. Teach your kids kindness.”

Keep ReadingShow less