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23 Awesome Foreign Words We Need to Start Using in English

by Matt Hershberger Aug 18, 2015

1. Kummerspeck

German for “grief bacon.” It refers to the weight you put on while overeating for emotional reasons.

2. Luftmensch

A Yiddish word for a dreamer or a social misfit.

3. Tsundoku

A Japanese word referring to the act of buying a book and then never reading it.

4. Chi Ku (吃苦)

Chinese for “to eat bitterness.” This refers to the ability for one to endure hardship without becoming a bitter person.

5. Toska

A Russian word referring to spiritual anguish with no apparent cause.

6. Kreng-jai

A Thai word that directly translates as “awe heart” or “deferential heart.” It sort of means “consideration,” but often is used to reference the deference you might to someone else’s interests even at the expense of your own.

7. Pochemuchka

A Russian word for a person who asks too many questions.

8. Goya

An Urdu word meaning the suspension of disbelief one feels while hearing a really good story.

9. Esculhambação

A Brazilian Portuguese word referring to the mess that comes about as a result of organizational incompetence.

10. Koi no yokan

The feeling you get when you meet someone for the first time and think you’re going to fall in love with them.

11. Backpfeifengesicht

A German word referring to a face that needs a slap.

12. Hanyauku

A RuKwangali word for the act of tiptoeing across hot sand.

13. Verschlimmbesserung

A German word for an attempted improvement that just made things worse.

14. Pålegg

A Norwegian word meaning “things which might be put in a sandwich,” or, as it might be translated in the American south, “sandwich fixin’s.”

15. Cwtch

A Welsh word that most closely translates to “safe place,” but actually refers to a certain type of affectionate hug — by giving someone a “cwtch,” you’re providing them with a “safe place.”

16. Sisu

A Finnish term that basically means the quality of being a badass. The word is usually equated with the Finnish national character.

17. Inat

A Serbian word that refers to the act of arguing with someone solely because you like arguing with them. It’s a more complicated concept than that, though, and can also be equated to the English aphorism of deliberately “cutting off your nose to spite your face.”

18. Mokita

A Kivila word that means “the truth we all know but agree not to speak of.”

19. Won

A Korean word referring to the feeling of reluctance a person gets when letting go of an illusion.

20. Yakamoz

A Turkish word for the reflection of moonlight on water.

21. Waldeinsamkeit

An amazing German word referring to the feeling you get when you’re alone in the woods.

22. Lítost

A Czech word that the writer Milan Kundera defined as “a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery.”

23. Culaccino

An Italian word referring to the circle of condensation left on a table after picking up a perspiring glass.

h/t: MentalFloss, Lingholic, The Guardian, Bored Panda and the commenters on our previous untranslatable words article

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