Favorite Words

I tend to wander the internet, collecting words with no English equivalent and then posting them on Twitter. And since it’s been a popular little series, I decided to keep a running list of my favorite foreign words here for you all to see.

FERNWEH. German. The opposite of homesickness. Akin to wanderlust.

YUPUTKA. Ulwa. The phantom sensation of something crawling on your skin.

BOKETTO. Japanese. The act of gazing vacantly into the distance without thinking.

TARTLE. Scots. That panicky hesitation just before you have to introduce someone whose name you can’t quite remember.

KUMMERSPECK. German. The weight gained from emotional overeating. “Grief bacon/lard.”

CAFUNE. Brazilian Portuguese. Tenderly running your fingers through your lover’s hair.

KAEILLING. Danish. A woman who stands in a public place, berating her children.

LUFTMENSCH. Yiddish. German. An impractical dreamer with no business sense.

VERSCHLIMMBESSERUNG. German. A supposed improvement that makes things worse.

BRICOLEUR. French. Someone who starts building something with no clear plan, cobbling it together while flying by the seat of their pants.


8 thoughts on “Favorite Words

  1. Julie Israel says:

    Beautiful. I especially love ‘bricoleur!’

    Here’s a fave I filed away long ago (now pasted from the internet):
    Retrouvailles (French): The happiness of meeting again after a long time.

  2. Oliver says:

    I recommend you consider the Swedish word “lagom” meaning “not too much and not too little” πŸ™‚

  3. Ryan says:

    I’m so glad someone else does this, too! Hiraeth is my favorite, and Saudade is a close second. πŸ™‚

  4. Kaelyn says:

    There’s a German word for “that feeling of being alone in the woods.” It is waldeinsamkeit.

  5. Devon Leigh says:

    Victoria, I thought I’d share my favorite word. Hiraeth is my favorite word. It means “A homesickness for somewhere you cannot return to, the nostalgia and the grief for the lost places of your past, or places that never were.”

  6. meerderwoerter says:

    The convenient thing with German is the fact that you can make up anything by simply putting two words together. Very useful.
    Verschlimbesserung is actually a mix of two opposing words: verschlimmern (getting worse) and bessern/besser werden (better/becoming, getting better).
    But we also have Heimweh, the opposite to Fernweh. Homesickness/wanderlust.
    But I didn’t know that Kummerspeck existed, but, as you can see: Simply put two words together and you have your right word. It sounds very german German, not Austrian German, that word Kummerspeck that is:)

  7. Maru says:

    maybe you might like to check this Filipino words? Here’s a link:


    My favorite is Kilig. I always get kilig with your books.

  8. Aurelia Aislin says:

    I too love collecting words that are considered untranslatable into English πŸ˜€

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: