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Harry R. Schwartz

Software engineer, nominal scientist, gentleman of the internet. Member, ←Hotline Webring→.


Untranslatable Words

Published 09 Dec 2010. Tags: language, words.

You might enjoy this short list of untranslatable words. It includes classics like schadenfreude, wabi-sabi, and l’appel du vide, as well as my personal favorite mamihlapinatapai, but there are a few other good ones in there, too.

Jayus
Indonesian – “A joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh.”
Torschlusspanik
German – “Translated literally, this word means ‘gate-closing panic,’ but its contextual meaning refers to ‘the fear of diminishing opportunities as one ages.’”
Iktsuarpok
Inuit – “To go outside to check if anyone is coming.”

Link shamelessly stolen from swiss-miss.