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Only A True Language Nerd Can Guess These Untranslatable Words

There are lots of words from around the world that don't have direct analogs in the English language. Let's see if you can guess what some of them mean!

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  1. Alana Mohamed/BuzzFeed
    Intense, joyful anticipation derived from imagining future pleasure
    The impact being observed has on one's behavior
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    This German word often refers to the way something might have been easier to do unobserved, but that becomes difficult once you're under watch. Relatable! (Vorfreude is the German word for joyful anticipation derived from imagining future pleasure.)

  2. Alana Mohamed/BuzzFeed
    An intense urge to pinch something really cute
    A powerful energy running through and out of the body
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Liget is a word used by the Ilongot tribe in the Philippines to describe a "high-voltage" feeling. (The urge to pinch something cute is called panggigigil in Tagalog.)

  3. Alana Mohamed/BuzzFeed
    The fear of missing out
    Nostalgic longing for one's homeland
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Jīng shū comes from the Chinese for FOMO, basically. Often it connotes a selfish, grasping attitude.

  4. Alana Mohamed/BuzzFeed
    Exposure to so much beauty that one ceases to appreciate it
    Intermingled feelings of sadness and joy
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    This Chinese word means to be aesthetically overwhelmed. (Sirva vigad is the Hungarian word for the strange mix of sadness and joy.)

  5. Alana Mohamed/BuzzFeed
    The gesture of running one's fingers through a loved one's hair
    Artful disentanglement from trouble
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Cafuné is a word used in Brazil to denote this affectionate action, and it can be used to describe intimacy between lovers or a parent and a child. (Desenrascanço is Portuguese for an improvised solution, often used colloquially.)

  6. Alana Mohamed/BuzzFeed
    The shared look of desire between two people too shy to make the first move
    The feeling of meeting someone and knowing you will fall in love with them
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Mamihlapinatapai is a Yaghan word, once voted the most succinct word in the Guinness Book of World Records. The Yaghan, by the way, are a group of indigenous peoples in South America. (Koi No Yokan is the Japanese term for knowing you will fall in love with someone you've just met.)

  7. Alana Mohamed/BuzzFeed
    A ridiculous plan, usually thought up when drunk
    Excess weight gained from emotional overeating
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Kummerspeck is a German word that literally means "grief bacon." (Schnapsidee refers to a ridiculous drunken plan, though it can also refer to a bad sober plan as well.)

  8. Alana Mohamed/BuzzFeed
    Someone who seems to have nothing but bad luck
    A witty comeback you think of only after it's too late to use
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    This Yiddish word literally means "staircase words" and refers to thinking of the perfect comeback just as you've walked away from a conversation. (Shlimazel is the Yiddish word for someone who seems to have nothing but bad luck.)

  9. Alana Mohamed/BuzzFeed
    When sunlight filters through trees
    Leaving a book unread after buying it
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Komorebi refers to the interplay of light and shadow when the sun shines through trees. (Tsundoku is a Japanese word that refers to letting books pile up after buying them.)

  10. Alana Mohamed/BuzzFeed
    To shed clothes in order to dance
    Community togetherness
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Mbuki-mvuki (Swahili) literally means to take off in flight, or to dance wildly. It was also the title of Plaid's 1991 album. (Tuko pamoja is Swahili for community togetherness.)

Only A True Language Nerd Can Guess These Untranslatable Words

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(Thumbnail image modified courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr under CC)

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