Skip Nav

Words With No English Translations

15 Foreign Words Americans Could Use For Dating

There are so many perfect and weird words to describe complicated emotions in other languages that I wish someone would go on a crusade to educate everyone. I went through a few hundred words with no direct English translation, which oddly there seems to be no word for. Perhaps Jeffrey Eugenides explained it best in Middlesex:

Emotions, in my experience aren't covered by single words. I don't believe in "sadness," "joy," or "regret." . . . I'd like to have at my disposal complicated hybrid emotions, Germanic traincar constructions like, say, "the happiness that attends disaster." Or: "the disappointment of sleeping with one's fantasy." . . . I'd like to have a word for "the sadness inspired by failing restaurants" as well as for "the excitement of getting a room with a minibar."

Ahh, yes, the Germans seem to do it best. My favorite so far is "handschuhschneeballwerfer," which is German for coward, and literally means one who wears gloves to throw snowballs. And while that could feasibly be used to describe a guy, here are 15 words we could use while dating in the English language.

  1. Koi no yokan: Japanese for the feeling that a relationship will evolve into love after the first meeting.
  2. Nedotipva: Czech for one who finds it difficult to take the hint.
  3. Mahj: Persian for looking beautiful after a disease.
  4. Spesenritter: German for a person who shows off by paying the bill on his company's money.
  5. Prozvonit: Czech and Slovak for calling someone's cell so they have your number.
  6. Torschlusspanik: German for the fear of diminishing opportunities, particularly in regard to the biological clocks of women in their mid-30s.
  7. Kummerspeck: German for excess weight gained from emotional overeating, literally meaning "grief bacon."
  8. Begadang: Indonesian for staying up all night talking.
  9. Cafune: Portuguese for running of one's fingers through the hair of one's mate.
  10. Kontal-kontil: Indonesian for the swinging of long earrings or the swaying of a woman's dress as she walks.
  11. Baffona: Italian for an attractive mustachioed woman.
  12. Ilunga: Deemed the hardest word to translate by linguists, this word comes from the DR Congo and means "a person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time."
  13. Layogenic: Filipino for a person who is only good-looking from a distance (i.e. a "Monet" a la Cher Horowitz).
  14. Zechpreller: German for someone who leaves without paying the bill.
  15. Shvitzer: Yiddish for someone who sweats a lot, particularly a nervous seducer.

What am I missing?

Source: Shutterstock
Latest Love & Sex