Have you ever been in that uncomfortable position of not being able to think of the right word to describe a particular situation or feeling? I know I have. Maybe that’s because the words we were searching for simply don’t exist in the English language.
English is considered the most widely spoken language. After all, it’s the third most common primary language in the world, after Mandarin and Spanish; however it’s the first most common secondary language. That makes English the language spoken by more people around the world than any other.
Yet even with this distinction and a combined vocabulary of well over a quarter of a million words, we still quite often find ourselves at a loss for the right word at the right time.
Well brush up on your foreign language skills because here is part one of my list of foreign words that don’t exist in English, but should!
Age-otori (Japanese) - Means you look worse after a haircut than before it.
Arigata-meiwaku (Japanese) - This refers to when someone does a favor for you after you tried to prevent them from doing it, then something went wrong and resulted in a lot of trouble for you; yet you were required to express gratitude anyway due to social standards.
Backpfeifengesicht (German) - Means a face that desperately needs to be hit
Bakku-shan (Japanese) - This refers to a girl that is beautiful when viewed from behind but not from the front.
Buksvåger (Swedish) - This refers to the relationship two people have with each other when they have had the same romantic partner.
Desenrascanço (Portuguese) - This means to creatively “disentangle” yourself from a bad situation.
Duende (Spanish) - This is a show of spirit at the climax of a performance or work of art.
Forelsket (Norwegian) - This is the euphoric feeling one experiences during the onset of love.
Fremdschämen (German) - This is the feeling of embarrassment you feel for someone when they should be embarrassed themselves but aren’t.
Gigil (Filipino) - This is the uncontrollable urge to squeeze or pinch someone or something that is extremely cute.
Guanxi (Mandarin) - This is similar, but not exactly the same as the word Karma. In Chinese society, you gain guanxi by giving gifts to people, doing them favors, etc., but you can use your guanxi by asking for a favor, etc.
Hygge (Danish) - This is like a combination of cozy and nostalgic. It refers to the feeling of warmth you experience with friends and family, etc.
Ilunga (Tshiluba, Congo) - This is a person who forgives any abuse or transgression once; tolerates it the second time; but refuses to accept it the third. It’s similar to the English saying, “fool me once, shame on me; fool me twice, shame on you; there won’t be a third time”.
Kummerspeck (German) - The weight that is gained as a result of emotional overeating. The word translates literally to "grief bacon", or “grief fat”.