Words with No English Translation

Do you know Words with no English Translation ?


Words with No English Translation

Words with No English Translation

There are approximately 375 million people around the globe who speak English as their first language. It is estimated that there are 1,009,753 words in the English language today. Despite such a seemingly large number, there are still many cultural and linguistic nuances that bars us from directly translating a handful of foreign words to English.

Here are some examples of words from different languages that are “untranslatable to English”:

  • Age-otori (Japanese): To look worse after a haircut
  • Backpfeifengesicht (German): A face badly in need of a fist
  • Desenrascanço (Portuguese): “to disentangle” yourself out of a bad situation (To MacGyver it)
  • Duende (Spanish): a climactic show of spirit in a performance or work of art, which might be fulfilled in flamenco dancing, or also bull-fighting, etc.
  • Forelsket (Norwegian): The euphoria you experience when you are first falling in love
  • Sayang (Filipino): an interjection that connotes frustration over a near-miss
  • L’esprit de l’escalier(French): usually translated as “staircase wit,” is the act of thinking of a clever comeback when it is too late to deliver it
  • Litost (Czech): a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery
  • Mamihlapinatapai (Yaghan): A look between two people that suggests an unspoken, shared desire
  • Meraki (pronounced may-rah-kee; Greek): Doing something with soul, creativity, or love. It’s when you put something of yourself into what you’re doing
  • Nunchi (Korean): the subtle art of listening and gauging another’s mood
  • Pochemuchka (Russian): a person who asks a lot of questions
  • Zhaghzhagh (Persian): The chattering of teeth from the cold or from rage
  • Gumusservi (Turkish): It means moonlight shining on water.
  • Mencolek (Indonesian): Tapping someone lightly on the opposite shoulder from behind to fool them
  • Glas wen (Welsh): A smile that is insincere or mocking. Literally, a blue smile
  • Greng-jai (Thai): That feeling you get when you don’t want someone to do something for you because it would be a pain for them.
  • Ya’arburnee (Arabic): This word is the hopeful declaration that you will die before someone you love deeply, because you cannot stand to live without them. Literally, may you bury me.
  • Pana Po’o (Hawaiian): It means to scratch your head in order to help you remember something you’ve forgotten.
  • Hygge (Danish): Denmark’s mantra, hygge is the pleasant, genial, and also intimate feeling associated with sitting around a fire in the winter with close friends.


If you’re having trouble with words with no English translation, or you need translator or interpreter, Language Direct can help!

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