Unique words



In most languages you will find words that are unique to that language or culture. We have gathered some of them below.

 

Albanian

  • hundekuq: a bulbous nose, red at the tip 
  • kacadre: a moustache with turned-up ends
  • vetullhen: an eyebrow arched like the crescent moon
  • pagezuar: dying before being able to enjoy the happiness that comes with getting married or seeing one’s children get married

Bosnian

  • gunj: a vest worn by the shepherds during winter, made from sheep skin

Catalan

  • seny: a combination of well-pondered perception of situations, level-headedness, awareness, integrity and right action
  • coentor: it literally means "stinging" but used in a figurative sense to describe something or someone gaudy and wealthy at the same time
  • festejar: spending time alone with the person one loves in a romantic way, traditionally before getting married.
  • atzucac: dead end; may refer to a situation without apparent solution as well. 
  • goig: intense feeling of pleasure, satisfaction or happiness. There is also the expression "fer goig", meaning to be pleasant or nice to look at, used when people are well-dressed, have had their hair or make-up done in a special and good-lookin way. 

Croatian

  • pivopija: someone who likes to drink beer; literally a "beer drinker"

Czech

  • prozvonit: to call someone with the intention of leaving one's number in their device's memory
  • ňufánek: a toy that is very cute and cuddly; the word can refer to a child who loves to cuddle

Danish

  • hyggelig: an adjective for something warm, friendly, cozy, comfortable. 

Dutch

  • gezellig: it may be translated as a convivial, cosy, fun, quaint, or nice atmosphere, but can also connote belonging, time spent with loved ones, the fact of seeing a friend after a long absence, or general togetherness. 
  • broodje-aap: an awful, often invented story that is told as being true, thus becoming a myth. (literally, a monkey-meat sandwich)
  • regelneef: a person who loves organizing even without being asked to

English

  • higgledy-piggledy: disordered, jumbled, not neat and tidy. Probably used initially with reference to the disordered herding together of pigs
  • dilly-dally: to move or act too slowly

Estonian

  • koerailm: cat-and-dog weather; really bad weather
  • kalailm: good weather for fishing

Finnish

  • hiukaista: to feel hungry for something salty 
  • poronkusema: the distance equal to how far a reindeer can travel without a comfort break, which is about 5 kilometers (literally, reindeer’s piss)
  • kuunsilta: the long reflection of the moon when it is low in the sky and shining on the calm surface of a lake (literally, moon bridge)
  • kaipaus: longing or nostalgia, very similar to the Portuguese concept of "saudade"
  • fika: used to describe a pause for tea or coffee during the working day

French

  • yaourt: English pop music sung without any understanding of the meaning; singing to create something that sounds like English pop music but actually is not (literally, yoghurt)
  • metro-boulot-dodo: the daily grind (literally, ‘tube-work-sleep’)
  • chabrot: to put red wine in your soup, when there is little soup left
  • flanêr: act of strolling the streets of a city out of pleasure

Galician

  • morriña: longing of our homeland, Galicia, when one is away from it
  • luscofusco: moment of the day, between the day and the night when the light has almost disappeared and we see the things like shadows

Georgian

  • genatsvale: a word used in the same as "dear", it means to appreciate very much. 
  • shemomedjamo: to eat even though one is already full because the food tastes so good.

German

  • Zechpreller: someone who leaves without paying the bill 
  • Ohrwurm: a catchy tune that gets stuck in the brain or a tune that rapidly obsesses an entire population (literally, an ear worm) 
  • Torschlusspanik: the fear of diminishing opportunities as one gets older, especially the fear of not having a relationship or becoming too old for a baby
  • Gemütlichkeit: feeling of comfort, coziness, warmth, as in one's home
  • Schadenfreude: pleasure derived from another person’s misfortune
  • Fernweh: desire to see distant places, travel, be far away from your home
  • Schilderwald: refers to a street where one might get lost due to the existence of many road signs. (literally, signs forest)
  • Fahrvergnügen: joy of driving, pleasure derived from driving (literally, driving-pleasure)

Greek

  • μάγκας/mangas: is a young man who is self-confident and behaving in a somehow macho way. It may have a positive connotation of respect and even admiration by others at times, although there is also the popular expression 'don't be a mangas', showing rejection towards this kind of behaviour.
  • μεράκι/meraki: doing something with soul, creativity, or love: putting something of oneself into what is being done
  • φιλότιμος/filotimo:  this adjective describes 

    an array of virtues ranging form intense feeling of personal honour and dignity, to respect towards family members, friends and society overall, as well as acting right. 

  • λεβέντης/leventis: handsome, brave and good-hearted young man

Hungarian

  • csókolgat: to shower with kisses
  • verbunkos: a dance performed to persuade people to enlist in the army     

Icelandic

  • eldhus-fifi (Old Icelandic): an idiot who sits all day by the fire
  • af-vegar (Old Icelandic): fallen on the back and unable to rise
  • féauðnu-maðr (Old Icelandic): a man lucky with his sheep
  • gluggaveður: weather which is nice to look at through the window but not nice to be out in (literally, window-weather)

Irish

  • plubairnigh: a verb specifically used to describe that distinctive thick, bubbling sound that porridge makes when it is boiling. An example: "Bhí an leite ag plubairnigh sa phota" ("the porridge was 'plubairnigh-ing' in the pot")

Italian

  • mammismo: maternal overprotection and excessie care that continues into adulthood
  • abiocco: from the verb 'abioccare', abbiocco describes one's wish to lie down and rest, mostly after eating and drinking with abundance.
  • gattara: a woman catlover who feeds alley cats or spends time with domestic cats
  • meriggiare: to rest in the shade during midday and the hottest afternoon hours. 

Korean

  • 사랑해/saranghae: translates as "I love you", or "let's live until we die together" (literally, "sa-" means die; "rang-" means together and "hae" means doing)

Latvian

  • vientuliba: loneliness, solitude
  • slapjdraņķis: simultaneous rain and snow

Lithuanian

  • žlugtas: laundry which is watered before washing
  • brekšti: a verb which is used to describe a moment between the night and the dawn
  • rymoti: to lean on something (arms, fence, etc.) for some time
  • brukti: to suggest something in a very annoying and irksome way
  • davatka: a person who is ikes to gossip

Norwegian

  • kram snø: sticky snow, excellent for making snow-balls and snowmen
  • fiskevaer: good weather for fishing
  • sjøstygg: being so ugly that the tide won’t come in, if one's on the shore (literally, sea ugly)
  • giftekniv: someone trying to get two people married
  • pålegg: whatever you put on your bread or bagel
  • guovssahasat: northern/polar lights
  • oppholdsvær: weather that is excellent, but good enough to allow spending some time outside (i.e., not too windy, not too cold, not too rainy)

Portuguese

  • chico-esperto: used to describe someone who is smart enough to take advantage of situations even if damaging someone else's interests
  • saudade: homesickness, longing, missing, heartache, nostalgia
  • desenrascanço: capacity to get oneself out of trouble or to improvise creative solutions to seemingly impossible situations
  • compincha: someone who is always down for fun or drinks

Romanian

  • dor: a feeling of melancholy as a result of the desire to see someone or something one loves
  • doină: a kind of musical folklore that expresses a feeling of wailing, melancholy, grief, revolt, love

Russian

  • почемучка/pochemucka: a person who always asks something
  • дерябнуть/deryabnut’:  to drink quickly in order to warm up
  • дакать/dakat’: to keep saying yes
  • теплушка/teplushka: heated goods van used for carrying people
  • обкуриться/obkurit'sya: to make oneself ill by excessive smoking
  • залипать/zalipat': to stand staring at something; it implies at times a state of deep reflection

Serbian

  • inat: spite, defiance; when you do or do not do something just to prove someone else wrong even if at one's detriment
  • merak: happy and content feeling derived from the simplest and everyday things
  • dangubiti: to spend the whole day doing pointless things
  • праскозорје/praskozorje: explosion of dawn. crack of dawn

Slovak

  • prezvoniť: to call someone with the intention of leaving one's number in their device's memory
  • škodoradosť: pleasure derived by someone from another person's misfortune

Slovenian

  • zlovešč: someone who predicts harm/evil

Spanish

  • chupóptero: a person who works little but who economically parasites an organisation, company or another person
  • piropo: a compliment paid to someone, specially referring to someone's beauty. It may range from polite to raunchy
  • vergüenza ajena: feeling of shame on behalf of someone else
  • sobremesa: to sit after an abundant meal in company of other people so as to chat and rest
  • malaje: said about a disagreeable person
  • jajajear: to laugh in a mocking way
  • empalagoso: sickly sweet
  • matasuegras: twisted paper tube with a mouthpiece that unscrews when blown and scares as a joke, used mainly at birthday parties.
  • duende: the ability to move someone emotionally through a work of art or a musical piece. It is very related to flamenco music and it is at times thought of as an inborn ability. 

Swedish

  • lappsjuka: a melancholy caused by isolation
  • fika: coffee-break or an overall word for buns and other snacks that are eaten on coffee-breaks
  • lagom: not too little or not too big, just right or in the right measure
  • myrornas krig: when the television screen turns black and white with spots and it looks like ants are battling (literally, ants war)
  • mångata: the glimmering, roadlike reflection that the moon creates on water
  • gökotta: refers to waking up early, often at dawn when first sing and chirp. 

Welsh

  • cwtch: an affectionate hug - provide a 'safe' place in someone's arms, a rather special one, blessed with the warmth and generosity of the Welsh, a truly free flowing expression of love and acceptance
  • hiraeth:  deep longing for something, especially one's home
  • yakamoz: any kind of light reflecting onto water

* The concept and original examples for this page were provided by Adam Jacot de Boinod

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