19 words and more
A fun question to ask, and a lot of great answers. Plus, 7 other things worth knowing today.
Hope you had a great weekend. For today, a fun little exercise. The folks at Merriam-Webster took to Twitter to ask non-native English speakers to suggest words from their languages that don’t have equivalents in English (although maybe they should!).
Anyway, the thread took off like wildfire, and as a word lover I found it enticing. So I pulled
20 19 of the most interesting examples people came up with—from Arabic, to Tagalog, and a bunch of others in between, and I’m sharing them here.
Got any good ones to add? Let us know in the comments.
Among the ideas people came up with and their descriptions (with links back to the originals of course):
tsundoku (積ん読), Japanese
the practice of “acquiring books and letting them pile up without reading them.”
Loosely translated, "stoic determination, tenacity of purpose, grit, bravery, resilience and hardiness," but it's hard to describe in English. You might hate doing a thing, but the thing has to be done, so you will do the thing.
That quiet time when you’re the only one awake in the house and can enjoy a cup of coffee before the day starts.
apapachar, Mexican Spanish
It comes from Nahuatl, and it literally means "hug with the soul", it's used like, sort of a mix of "to cuddle", "to support" and "to console": to throw all of your love to someone when they need it the most.
Basically translates to “cable salad”, which is when all your cables tangle up on their own.
qti maz, Armenian
Literally translates to “nose hair,” but means someone who is overly concerned with details that don’t matter. 🤣
Translates to ‘lonely mouth;’ when you're not hungry, but you eat because your mouth is lonely or you are bored.
You try to help, but do too much so instead you do harm. (From a tale about a bear wanting to kill a fly on its owner’s nose, and instead killing the man.)
A word for really showing yourself in a long and intimate conversation with others, often late in the evening and accompanied by alcohol, but not necessarily only then.
An expression of distaste or unhappy dislike. you would feel scunnert / scunnered if you put on your slipper and there was a slug in it.
A longing, or homesickness for a past that never really was. A great word :)
Most translate it as ‘cozy’, but in Danish it means more than that. It is hard to explain. Comfort combined with cozy combined with warmth and safe atmosphere.
the Finnish word for drinking at home in your underwear.
To make something worse by trying to make it better
The feeling of having had too much of the same food over and over again [so] that you feel like you can no longer take a bite of the same stuff again. This can also be used figuratively [to] describe ideas, concepts, experiences, among others.
Someone who “removes the fog” to sort out a problem. They are resourceful, creative and work through challenges constructively and productively. But there is not an English word that says all of that. Such a great quality in a person. ♥️
Example usage: "The craic was great". Meaning: you enjoyed yourself / had a fun time / were entertained and laughed a lot / had good chats / in good company. Can also mean news or gossip, i.e "What's the craic?" = "Any news?"
musafir, Arabic and Pashto
Traveler, someone away from home; it’s a sad word.
geçmiş olsun, Turkish
Literally, “let this pass”. It’s used to wish well to people who have experienced a disaster or near-death incident. It’s what Turkey’s citizens would like to hear apropos the devastating February earthquakes
Personally, I speak English and Espfranglais: my native tongue, plus a smattering of French and Spanish that I studied in school and wind up confusing in real life. But, I know we have a lot of readers who speak a heck of a lot more. So, got any good terms to add to the list? Let us know in the comments.
7 other things worth knowing today
Zandra Flemister, who was the first Black woman to serve as a special agent in the U.S. Secret Service, and who left after four years due to race discrimination, but went on to spend three decades as a foreign service officer and rose to the upper ranks of the State Department, died at age 71. She had early onset Alzheimer's disease. (NPR)
A year after Will Smith smacked him on the Academy Awards stage, Chris Rock finally gave his rebuttal in a forceful stand-up special, streamed live on Netflix. Some of his best material was on the physical differences between him and Smith: “We are not the same size. This guy does movies with his shirt off. You will never see me do a movie with my shirt off. If I’m in a movie getting open-heart surgery, I got on a sweater. ... He played Muhammed Ali. I played Pookie in ‘New Jack City.’” (AP)
The U.S. Navy is renaming a guided missile cruiser the USS Robert Smalls, after a Civil War slave who stole a Confederate ship from Charleston, sailed it to a Union blockade and turned it over, served in both the Union army and navy, and was elected to Congress during reconstruction. The ship had previously been named Chancellorsville, after a Confederate victory during the war. (U.S. Navy)
Goosebumps author R.L. Stine has edited more than a dozen of his books to feature more inclusive language, updating or removing references to mental health, ethnicity and weight. The move by Scholastic comes to light weeks after it was revealed Penguin had edited several Roald Dahl books with language deemed to be more appropriate for today's young readers. Among Stine's changes: replacing word "crazy" with "silly", "scary", "wild", and "stressed," and changing a boy's reaction to the novel Anna Karenina as "not interesting," instead of "girl's stuff." (Yahoo News Australia)
An 8-year-old boy has raised more than $98,000 via a GoFundMe for the waiter who doted on him at a Waffle House, after the boy learned he was living in a motel with his wife and daughters, and walked several miles to work each way because he could not find a car. (WashPost)
A Pennsylvania woman who went missing more than 30 years ago and whose family believed she was dead has been found alive in Puerto Rico, resolving a decades-long mystery, the authorities said on Friday. The woman, Patricia Kopta, now 83, was found on the island after she shared tidbits about her past to nursing home employees who had been taking care of her for years. (NYT)
Have you ever dreamed of giving it all up, leaving it all behind and hitting the road to escape all your responsibilities? It sounds good, doesn’t it? But it also sounds expensive. Or at least, it did sound expensive until now—because now a cruise company is launching a three-year, 130,000-mile, escape-your-daily-life cruise for a relatively affordable $30,000 per person per year. Life at Sea Cruises has opened bookings for its three-year voyage on the MV Gemini, which sets sail from Istanbul on November 1. (CNN)