The 10 Most Delightful Foreign Words With No English Equivalent

by Jen Jordan Jun 1, 2018

One language is definitely not enough to convey all of the detailed feelings, attitudes, nuances, and phenomena that comprise the human experience. Some would even go so far as to say that language itself can’t totally handle this task.

Then again, they probably never heard of schnapsidee (a German word for ideas and plans so ludicrous that only a drunk person could have concocted them), or meriggiare (an Italian word for the very specific act of resting in the shade at noon).

We have ways of describing these things in English — it’s just that other languages can sometimes do the same thing in a way more efficient single word.

Here are ten untranslatable words we definitely need to add into our daily vocabulary.

These words are brought to you by Babbel Magazine, the publication for language learners, word nerds, and cultural explorers.

1. Pålegg


2. Lampadato

Lampadato Italian word


3. Meriggiare


4. Setja upp gestaspjót

Setja upp gestaspjot Icelandic word


5. Hyggelig


6. Schnapsidee

Schnapsidee German word


7. Gula


8. Gjensynsglede

Gjensynsglede Norwegian word


9. Schadenfreude

schadenfreude german word


10. Gattara

gattara Italian word

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