Subscribe Form

Stay up to date

Thanks for submitting!

Search
  • Marie H.

The Poetry of Words Beyond Culture

I was drawn to the idea of the power of words and their ability express the culture and humanity of a group of people. Words that tear down barriers, proclaim love, or exemplify the human condition universally.


The words below, have no real English equivalent, but knowing them will lighten up your world.


Ikigai (Japanese) - Reason for being, life's purpose or bliss. A Japanese philosophy that is both challenging and empowering as one seeks to find it.


Voorpret (Dutch) - 'Pre-fun', for example, the joy you feel before an event starts that makes you want to dance in anticipation.


Meraki (Greek) - pouring yourself into doing something soulfully, creatively, and with love. Leaving a piece of yourself in your work.


Ya'aburnee (Arabic)- An emotional declaration of one's hope that they'll die before another person as a way to express how much they love and could not live without them. Hoping a loved one outlives you.


Taarradhin (Arabic) - the act of coming to a happy compromise where everyone wins and no one loses face. A happy solution for all involved.


Komorebi (Japanese)- sitting in the shade and seeing the scattered sunlight between the trees hit the grass.


Mangata (Swedish) - 'moon road', the moon's reflection on the water


Vacinlando (Spanish) - The experience of the journey is more important than the destination.


Gigil (Tagalog) - the overwhelming feeling of wanting to squeeze and pinch something unbearably cute.


Ciğerpare (Turkish) - Someone that you love as much as your own body. Actually means 'liver part.


Ubuntu (Zulu) - Acts of kindness for the sake of one's common humanity.


Dugnad (Norwegian) - Around the change of the seasons, neighbors come together to fix, clean, tidy up a neighborhood.


Forelsket (Norwegian) - The euphoria felt in the beginning of falling in love.


Viraha (Hindi) - Learning that you love someone after separating from them.


Filotimo (Greek) - basically translates as the love of honor. A person who understands to always do the right thing even when it is not in their favor.


Parea (Greek) - gathering with friends to share life experience, philosophies, values, and ideas.


Flaneur (Dutch) - a person of leisure who enjoys wandering the streets and soaking up the culture and beauty of a place, or to stroll.


La Douleur Exquise (French) - The exquisite pain of wanting something you can't have.


Guanxi (Chinese) - Relationships, connections, and networks involving moral obligations and personal trust. Moral obligations in exchange for favors. One must build up good Guanxi with something by taking them to dinner, buying gifts, etc. When you call in a favor, you use up some of your guanxi. It is an endless loop that lasts a lifetime.


Psithurism (Greek) - The rustling sound of leaves in the wind (often described as whispering or slanderous).


Santi (Nigerian) - The overwhelming joy and gratification after a meal. That gastronomical satiation that inspires something like a 'sugar high'.


Meriggiare (Italian) - To rest or relax in midday in a shady spot on a sunny day.


Koi No Yokan (Japanese) - That feeling that you are going to fall in love with a person you just met.


Those times when you felt like you couldn't put it into words, you weren't alone. These sentiments are sometimes captured in one word in another language and express a common humanity.


https://www.theintrepidguide.com/untranslatable-words-ultimate-list/

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/247248#:~:text=6.,the%20key%20to%20successful%20negotiations.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/marriage-30/201202/the-top-10-relationship-words-arent-translatable-english