Photo: Darren Baker/Shutterstock

Fantastic Words From Around the World That Are Impossible to Translate Directly

England Languages
by Cathy Brown Apr 8, 2016

This list of awesome words came from Ella Frances Sanders, who’s compiled some of the most evocative words from around the world in her new illustrated book, Lost in Translation.

1. Warmduscher (German)

This is what Germans call someone who only ‘takes warm showers,’ implying that they’re somewhat wussy.

2. Tsundoku (Japanese)

When you leave a book unread after buying it and you pile it up up together with all of your other unread books.

3. Struisvogelpolitiek (Dutch)

Literally, “ostrich politics.” It’s for those times when you act like you didn’t notice when something bad happened and you decide to carry on like normal.

4. Tretår (Swedish)

Tår” means a cup of coffee and “patår” is a refill, so “tretår” is a second refill, or a “threefill.”

5. Gurfa (Arabic)

However much water that can be held in one hand.

6. Nunchi (Korean)

This refers to the art of listening to gauge someone else’s mood.

7. Schadenfreude (German)

Getting pleasure from someone else’s misfortune.

8. Jugaad (Hindi)

Ensuring that things happen, even when there’s minimal resources.

9. Cotisuelto (Caribbean Spanish)

A guy who insists on wearing his shirttails untucked.

10. Glas Wen (Welsh)

This means ‘blue smile,” the smile you give when you are actually being sarcastic or mocking someone.

11. Poronkusema (Finnish)

The distance a reindeer can comfortably travel before taking a rest.

12. Drachenfutter (German)

The present a husband gives his wife when he’s attempting to make up for bad behavior.

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