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?
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?
- Words That Don’t Exist in the English Language (monkeyairplane.tumblr.com)
- Tartle, bufetak, kaelling: the foreign words to which English has no answer (telegraph.co.uk)