If you can’t say the word, does the feeling exist?

The answer is yes.

Some of you may know that I have an affinity towards portmanteaus, which combine the sounds and meanings of two words.

I also like single words, or phrases, of which I don’t yet know the meaning of, and get to discover by asking.

I recently came across a blog post on tumblr, that has directed me towards a whole new family of words: foreign words that explain something you know, but don’t know how to say.  These are kind of incredible, and I’ve reordered them according to which ones I want to use most:

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

Pochemuchka: (Russian) A person who asks a lot of questions.

Pena ajena: (Mexican Spanish) The embarrassment you feel watching someone else’s humiliation.

Waldeinsamkeit: (German) The feeling of being alone in the woods.

Meraki: (Greek) Doing something with soul, creativity, or love.

L’esprit de escalier: (French) The feeling you get after leaving a conversation, when you think of all the things you should have said. Translated it means “the spirit of the staircase.”

Gheegle: (Filipino) The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is unbearably cute.

Cualacino: (Italian) The mark left on a table by a cold glass.

Ilunga: (Tshiluba, Congo) A person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time.

When I first started to put this post together, I tried to find images for each of them, that I thought would represent each of them.  I realized how against the point that was, when these other languages had precise words/phrases for a very thing that yearns to be described.

HOWEVER, I can’t not include this one I found for Forelsket, it’s too familiar a feeling, and too adorable a print.

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3 comments
  1. Therese said:

    Have you ever read Generica? There’s a character in the book, an editor who compiles a whole dictionary of those kinds of words. Very cool.

    • Lee Anne said:

      NO!? I am TRES excited to read that!! I need to find my library card.

      Therese, I think we need to start a book club. (you’re probably already in one!?)

  2. therese said:

    I’m not! And I’ve actually never been in one! It’s a good idea, I’m in––and Generica is over the top fantastic.

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