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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?

Image Source: Shutterstock
dexaholic dexaholic 6 years
I'm suffering from "holiday grief bacon"!
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 6 years
I agree that the Portuguese "suadade" is a great one to add. I've never heard "mamihlapinatapai" before, but that should also be added... who hasn't experienced that before!?
totygoliguez totygoliguez 6 years
This something they say in my country, Colombia: tragado, its when you really, really like someone.
Girl-Jen Girl-Jen 6 years
Koi no yokan is the best feeling in the world. Our eyes meet, and then...yep, that's it. Here we go, I'm about to fall in love with him.
dana-stewart dana-stewart 7 years
#10 you are wrong, it's "perezvonit" not "prezvonit" or "prozvonit". :)
twg twg 7 years
mamihlapinatapai From wikipedia: "...from the Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuego, listed in The Guinness Book of World Records as the "most succinct word", and is considered one of the hardest words to translate.[1] It describes "a look shared by two people with each wishing that the other will initiate something that both desire but which neither one wants to start." Been there.
kylahbritton kylahbritton 7 years
grief bacon, love it!
janneth janneth 7 years
Choconono: the horror of finding your partner ate the last piece of cake.
nancita nancita 7 years
Guilt bacon!!! I think that is my favorite. But I also wish that baffona would catch on the US. Why can't we appreciated mustachioed women?
Pistil Pistil 7 years
Some days are definitely grief bacon days, haha :) Saudade (Portuguese): A feeling of nostalgic longing for something or someone that one was fond of and which is lost, unattainable, or nonexistent. Like feelings of joy mixed with heartbreak, I guess, or it could be used to describe unrequited love.
pink-elephant pink-elephant 7 years
I just had to laugh at no. 11!! "An attractive moustachioed woman" hmmm. also I like no. 9 as well. "Cafune" I want to use that one.
Mädchen Mädchen 7 years
Nice list. I think I'll try using "Begadang" from now on. :) I guess, the literal translation for "Spesenritter" would be "expenses knight" and "Torschlusspanik" would be something like "gate closing panic" (it refers to city gates in the middle ages that were closed at nightfall, if you didn't get back in time, you had to spend the night outside the city walls, which could be very dangerous). "Speck" can indeed mean "bacon", but in the case of "Kummerspeck" it means "fat".
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