12 Brilliant Words We Don’t Have In English

After reading this, you’ll want to gigil us.

1. Kummerspeck.

German.
Excess weight gained due to emotional overeating.

The best thing about this word - aside from giving you a new way to describe your recently dumped friend - is that translated literally it means ‘grief bacon’.

2. Espirit d’escalier.

French.
Thinking of a witty comeback when it’s too late.

Translated literally this means “the wit of the staircase”, presumably because in France when people are insulted they storm out the building rather than stand there and pretend they’re fine. Either way, this describes the moment when the perfect retort to an insult pops into your head way after it’s ceased to be of any use.

3. Backpfeifengesicht.

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German.
A face that wants to be punched.

Or ‘a face that wants to be slapped’. Either way, we’ve all encountered a few in our time.

4. Shlimazl.

Yiddish.
Someone who experiences relentless bad luck.

We all like to exclaim ‘that’s just my luck!’ from time to time, but this word should be reserved for the truly, dreadfully, unlucky. Like Bad Luck Brian, here.

5. Tatemae and Honne.

Japanese.
What you pretend to think, and what you actually think.

In Japan it is an openly acknowledged fact of life that there is a difference between what you must claim to think and feel in order to fit in with society, and what you privately think and feel. The closest concept we have to this is the ‘little white lie’, except that we tend to think of those as saving the feelings of others, rather than saving face for ourselves.

6. Desenrascanco.

Portuguese.
The improvisation of a haphazard but effective solution or plan at the last minute.

Few things make you look or feel cooler than coming up with an ingenius way to solve a problem in the nick of time. Masters of lateral thought - like The Doctor - can put such powers to tremendous use. For the rest of us, it usually means getting the cork out of a bottle of wine without using a screw.

7. Tartle.

Scots.
The moment of panic when you are introducing someone and realise you’ve forgotten their name.

We’ve all done it, but this particular social embarrassment is so common in Scotland, they decided to give it its own name.

8. Pelinti.

Buli, Ghana.
Moving very hot food around in your mouth.

In other words, that series of hops, blows and ‘ARRRRRR’ sounds you make when you’ve even something before it has cooled down properly.

9. Mencolek.

Indonesian.
Tapping someone on the shoulder to fool them.

This timeless prank has delighted school kids around the world forever, but in Indonesia, they have a proper name for it.

10. Gigil.

Filipino
The overwhelming urge to squeeze or pinch something that is very cute.

That breathless, excited way you get when you see an adorable baby, or a puppy chasing a balloon, or a kitten dressed as a frog, or…

11. Pana Po’o.

Hawaiian.
To scratch one’s head while trying to remember something.

Because we all know nothing jogs the memory like rubbing your nails into your scalp.

12. Tsundoku.

Japanese.
The act of leaving a book unread after buying it.

See that pristine copy of War And Peace lying unopened on your book shelf? The Japanese have a word for people like you.

Discover more wonderful foreign words in this video.

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