What's the word for that? 20 great words we should adopt

You get out of the car and catch sight of yourself in reflection. What is it you see? Have you succumbed to kummerspeck? Or is it a feeling of litost? Maybe you are just caught in a moment of boketto.


There are occasions, no matter how universal, that we just don’t seem to have the words for. Well, maybe we just don’t have an English word – here are 20 great words from other languages that I think we should adopt.

1. Vedriti (Slovene)
To shelter from the rain, waiting for it to stop before you continue on your way

2. Kummerspeck (German)
This translates literally as ‘grief bacon’. Kummerspeck is the weight you gain from comfort eating. I think we’ve all succumbed to grief bacon at some point.

3. Dolilyts (Ukranian)
To lie with your face turned down to the ground.

4. Greng-jai (Thai)
That feeling you get when you don’t want someone to do something for you because you know it will be a pain for them.

5. Gigil (Filipino)
The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is impossibly cute.

6. Yakamoz (Turkish)
A light show on the sea surface, created by the bioluminescent light emitted from sea creatures.

7. Yuputka (Ulwa)
The phantom sensation of something crawling on your skin.

8. Dor (Romanian)
The longing for someone you love very much, combined with sadness, and implies the need to sing sad songs.

9. Zhaghzhagh (Persian)
The chattering of teeth from the cold or from rage.

10. Ukiyo (Japanese)
Meaning ‘floating world’; a place of fleeting beauty where you find you are living in the moment, detached from the bothers of life.


11. Pana Po’o (Hawaiian)
To scratch your head in order to help you remember something you’ve forgotten.

12. Badkruka (Swedish)
Someone who is reluctant to get into the water when swimming outdoors. (Definitely me).

13. Boketto (Japanese)
The act of gazing vacantly into the distance without thinking.

14. S’entendre (French)
To know someone so well that you understand how they think. It translates literally to mean ‘hearing (each other)’.

15. Cavoli Riscaldati (Italian)
The result of attempting to revive an unworkable relationship. It translates to ‘reheated cabbage’.

16. Litost (Czech)
Milan Kundera, author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, made the comment: ‘As for the meaning of this word, I have looked in vain in other languages for an equivalent, though I find it difficult to imagine how anyone can understand the human soul without it.’

Litost is the state of agony and torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery.

17. Tartle (Scottish)
The act of hestitating while introducing someone because you’ve forgotten their name.

18. Luftmensch (Yiddish)
An impractical dreamer with no business sense.

19. Kombinować (Polish)
To work out an unusual solution to a complicated problem, somehow acquiring things that are not available in the process. Involves a breach of the law or social etiquette.

20. Jayus (Indonesian)
A joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh.

This post was first published on Daily Inkling: https://dailyinkling.wordpress.com/2014/09/16/whats-a-word-for-that-20-great-words-we-need-to-adopt/