13 Beautiful Words That Don’t Exist In English

I’ve already mentioned my disappointment with the English language in an earlier blog post. It just lacks the exoticism of French and the musicality of Italian; but after discovering the word Mamihlapinatapai, I’ve gone on another rampage, searching for foreign words that perfectly explain how I’m feeling.

English just comes up short sometimes. Here are some of the most beautiful-est:

1. Toska (Russian): No single word in English can describe all the shades of toska. Russian novelist, Vladmir Nabokov, describes it best: “At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody or something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom.”

2. Saudade (Portuguese): The feeling of longing for something or someone that you love and which is lost.

3. Forelsket (Norwegian): The euphoria you experience when you are first falling in love.

4. Duende(Spanish): The mysterious power that a work of art has to move a person.

5. Ya’aburnee (Arabic): Literally translates to “You bury me.” It’s a declaration of one’s hope that they’ll die before another person because of how difficult it would be to live without them.

6. Litost (Czech): A state of agony and torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery.

7. Meraki (Greek): To do something with soul, creativity, or love.

8. Aware (Japanese): The bitter sweetness of a brief moment of transcendent beauty.

9. Retrouvailles (French): “Rediscovery” or the happiness you feel upon reuniting with someone after you’ve been apart for a long time.

10. Onsra (Boro language of India): The bittersweet feeling of loving someone for the last time (when you know a love won’t last).

11. La douleur exquise (French): The excruciating pain that comes from wanting someone you can’t have.

12. Killig (Tagalog): The stupid-silly rush you feel immediately after something good happens, especially when it comes to love.

13. Koi no yokan (Japanese): Not quite love at first sight, but the feeling you get upon meeting someone, in which you know love will happen for the two of you, in time.

*All definitions courtesy of The Date Report, Matador Network and Anjana Iyer.