Lost in Translation: Words that don’t have an equivalent in English 

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The English language is vast, however, there are many words from other languages we do not have the direct translation for. These words usually have beautiful meanings or describe specific emotions. We have highlighted a few of our favourites below:

Hygge [Danish: Norwegian]

Hygge is a Danish and Norwegian noun that most resembles the word “cosiness” in English.  However, it can also mean the happy feeling of being in a cosy place with people you love. Hygge is a beautiful word and feeling that is especially common to use during the winter months. 

Saudade [Portuguese]

A more sombre and sad word saudade is the Portuguese word for a feeling of deep loneliness, incompleteness and nostalgia. It’s used to describe when you are missing a place, person or situation which is far away or absent. It is also the word that best describes the famous Fado music fishermen’s wives would sing when their husbands were out at sea. 

Sobremesa [Spanish]

A Spanish noun, sobremesa literally translates to “over / on the table”. It depicts the state of everyone having a conversation around the table once a meal has been finished. It is about the relaxing, post-meal situation where everyone has finished eating but remains around the table to continue a good conversation. 

Lost in translation

Fernweh [German]

Fernweh is similar to “nostaligia” or “nostalgic” in English. Where nostalgia in English refers to a longing for a place we have been to before, Fernweh is the longing or homesickness for somewhere you have never been. It is also similar to “wanderlust” however, instead of yearning to visit somewhere new it is the feeling of homesickness for an un-visited place. 

Razbliuto [Russian]

Another melancholic word. Razbliuto is a Russian word which is used to describe the feeling someone has for someone they once loved. It is about the present feeling of a past love. 

Tartle [Scottish]

Tartle is a Scottish word which means hesitation when recognising a person or introducing a person. It’s usually used when you’ve forgotten the person’s name you are introducing or were recently introduced to. 

Wabi-Sabi [Japanese]

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese expression which means; finding beauty in imperfections. It’s this act of acknowledging and celebrating the imperfections in the natural cycle of life and death, growth and decay. A peaceful expression which is said to come from Buddhism.