22 Hilarious, Useful, and Bizarre Foreign Words That Monolinguals Are Missing Out On Posted by Transparent Language on Dec 18, 2013 in Language Learning
English speakers get a small dose of foreign languages every day, whether you’re watching your favorite football team blitz the quarterback, stringing up a piñata for your child’s birthday party, or searching for something chic to wear. Loan words give us just a small taste of other languages, but there’s so much more out there to enjoy.
Below you will find 22 of our favorite foreign words, from the hilarious to the practical, to the downright strange. What are your favorite foreign words? Share them with us in the comments!
- Muskelkater (German) – Gym rats, this is for you! Literally “muscle hangover”, this word describes the soreness you feel after a tough workout.
- Pilkunnussija (Finnish) –This word refers to a person with exceptional and unnecessary attention to detail. Think of the grammar police, or perhaps Hermione Granger.
- пропил/Propil (Russian)—The act of selling something to get money for booze, probably vodka for the Russians who use this word. It makes you wonder how often this occurs if the Russians have a single word for it.
- Φιλότιμο/Filotimo (Greek) – The Greeks are proud to have this word, which literally means “friend of honor”, in their vocabulary. It refers to the goodwill to do something kind without waiting for anything in return.
- Kummerspeck (German) – A sad term referring to any excess weight gained from eating your emotions. But still, it’s hilarious because it literally means “grief bacon”.
- Sgriob (Irish) – The Irish would have a word for the prickling sensation felt on the upper lip directly before sipping whisky. Cheers!
- Desenrascar (Portuguese) – Using whatever means available to you to get out of a sticky situation, kinda like MacGyver.
- Kviðmágur (Icelandic) – This word is a little risqué, referring to the relations between two men who have been with the same woman. The funny part? It literally means “underbelly brother-in-laws”.
- Hyggelig (Danish) – This is an awfully cozy word for the feeling you experience when you’re living well, having a good time in good company. Gotta love those Danes.
- Depaysement (French) – Travelers, this one is for you. This word describes the positive feeling experienced when going abroad and experiencing new cultures. Like “woah, what a change!”
- Lagom (Swedish) – If Goldilocks were Swedish, this would be her favorite word. It means juuuust the right amount.
- Schilderwald (German) – That moment when there are so many traffic signs it actually just confuses drivers, that’s this word. Ever driven through New York City? You’ve experienced Schilderwald.
- Tartle (Scots) – Ugh, this word describes the panic you feel when introducing someone whose name you don’t actually remember. We wish tartle upon no one.
- Shemomechama (Georgian) – When the meal is just so good that you can’t stop eating it. The Georgians must make really good food to have a word like this.
- Backpfeifengesicht (German) – We have probably all seen one of these: a face that badly needs to be slapped.
- Vybafnout (Czech) – The Czechs must enjoy Halloween, since they have this word to describe the act of jumping out and saying Boo!
- Pålegg (Norwegian) – A general term encompassing anything you might consider putting on a sandwich, be it pickles or pickled pig feet.
- Kaelling (Danish) – Perhaps the Danish equivalent of a “crazy cat lady”, this word refers to a woman who yells obscenities at passersby from her stoop.
- Pena ajena (Spanish) – This expression aptly portrays the discomfort you feel when watching someone else do something embarrassing. For those of you who squirmed through every second of Sixteen Candles or American Pie, you know this feeling all too well.
- Minestra riscaldata (Italian) – Literally meaning “reheated soup”, this term accurately describes the true meaning: the result of trying to revive a doomed relationship…it’s never as good as it was the first time!
- يـقـبـرنـي/Yaqbirunee (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 it means “may you bury me.”
- Forelsket (Norwegian) – The euphoria you feel when falling in love, perhaps a feeling you will experience when you fall in love with a new language!
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