The Most Beautiful Untranslatable Words From Other Languages

hygge
(Photo: Pexels)

‘Hygge’ was, without a doubt, the buzz word of 2016. Danish for something akin to cosiness, it sparked a huge lifestyle trend in the UK, as we all rushed out to fill our living rooms with scented candles, stock up on fluffy socks and cram our tables with good, honest food and wine.

But while ‘hygge’ and what we think it stands for will never go out of fashion, there are many other beautiful, untranslatable gems lurking in the world’s thousands of languages.

From ‘forelsket’, used by Norwegians to describe the euphoria experienced when falling in love, to ‘duende’, Spanish for the moving power of art, many foreign words have totally relatable meanings but lack direct English equivalents.

Here are some of our favourites:

Saudade (Portuguese)
a melancholic longing for someone or something you loved and lost

Toska (Russian)
a nostalgia for your homeland

Hiraeth (Welsh)
homesickness mixed with grief or sadness

Raabta (Hindi)
sharing a connection with someone on a soul-deep level

Duende (Spanish)
the mysterious, deeply moving power of art

Waldeinsamkeit (German)
the feeling of being alone in the woods and connected to nature

Iktsuarpok (Inuit)
the frustration of waiting for someone to turn up

Gluggaveður (Icelandic)
the kind of weather that is pretty to look at, but not to be in

L’abbiocco (Italian)
the groggy feeling after a big meal when you want to nod off at the table

Kilig (Tagalog)
romantic butterflies in the stomach 

Dépayesment (French)
the feeling of being a foreigner

Forelsket (Norwegian)
the euphoria experienced while falling in love

Mamihlapinatapei (Yagan)
the silent but meaningful look shared between two people who are both feeling the desire to initiate something

Won (Korean)
the reluctance to let go of an illusion

Meraki (Greek)
to do something with all of your heart, to put something of yourself into your work

Gigil (Tagalog)
the overwhelming urge to snuggle someone or something

Merak (Serbian)
the feeling of bliss that comes from life’s simple pleasures

Jijivisha (Hindi)
the strong desire to live and keep living

Mangata (Swedish)
the path-like reflection of the moon on water

Firgun (Hebrew)
the unselfish feeling of delight in someone else’s joy

Wabi-Sabi (Japanese)
the beauty found in imperfections

Ya’aburnee (Arabic)
a deeper version of ‘I love you’, the hope that you will die before your partner because living without them would be too painful

L’appel du vide (French)
‘the call of the void’, the instinctive urge to jump from a high place

Fernweh (German)
feeling homesick for a place you have never been to

Iktsuarpok (Inut)
the sense of anticipation that keeps you checking for what you’re waiting for