There Should Be English for This


Urinal in Ben Gurion airport

Image via Wikipedia


Forlesket is the Norwegian word for the euphoria felt while falling in love. In the Philipines, a gheegle is the unbearable urge to pinch the cheeks of something that is just beyond cute. A pochemuchka is a Russian who asks too many questions.

What do all these words have in common?

No English equivalent.

There are no gheegles or pochemuchkas.

Which is not to say that English is hopeless and lacks imagination. It has its moments, but does it have words that are beyond the reach of other languages’ dictionaries?

A mark left behind on a glass table by a cold glass is a water spot to us but a cualacino to an Italian.

The itchiness of the upper lip just before taking the first sip from a glass of whiskey? That might be “addiction” for an English speaker but in Gaelic, it’s sgrioban.

Meraki is infusing what you are doing with soul or creativity or love. Very Greek.

Waldeinsamkeit is the feeling one experiences when he/she is alone in the German woods. Bavarian forest, perhaps? All Hansel, Gretel and Brothers’ Grimm or Julie Andrews’ hills are alive?

With my dyslexic inability to pronounce things, translations are the least of my worries, but I love the idea of large, or small, concepts rolled up into single words.

Share your favorite words and meanings? Anyone?

2 thoughts on “There Should Be English for This

  1. Rappaghash (Hungarian, and I have no idea if I spelled it correctly) is the slightly burned crust of food at the bottom of the frying pan or stew pot. Some people hate it and throw it down the sink. Other people love it and scrape every bit onto their plates.

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