Useful Words That Don’t Exist in English
by Jan Haber
As rich as English is, it’s missing a few gems:
1. Kummerspeck (Germany)
Excess weight gained due to emotional overeating. Translation: grief bacon.
2. Tatemae and Honne (Japan)
What you pretend to think, and what you actually think.
3. Pelinti (Ghana)
Moving very hot food around in your mouth —something you’ve eaten before it has cooled down properly.
4. Mencolek (Indonesia)
Tapping someone on the shoulder to fool him. This timeless prank has delighted school kids around the world forever, but in Indonesia, they have a proper name for it.
5. Pana Po’o (Hawaii)
To scratch one’s head while trying to remember something.
6. Tsundoku (Japan)
The act of leaving a book unread after buying it.
7. Nunchi (Korea)
The subtle art of listening and gauging another’s mood. Knowing what to say or do, or what not to say or do. A socially clumsy person can be described as nunchi eoptta, meaning absent of nunchi.
8. Tingo (Language of Easter Island)
To borrow objects one by one from a neighbor’s house until there is nothing left.
9. Meraki (Greece)
Doing something with soul, creativity, or love. It’s when you put something of yourself into what you’re doing.
10. Backpfeifengesicht (Germany)
A face badly in need of a fist.
11. Pena ajena (Mexico)
The embarrassment you feel watching someone else’s humiliation.
12. Bakku-shan (Japan)
A beautiful girl… as long as she’s being viewed from behind.