Unusual Foreign Words & Phrases That Don't Have An English Equivalent
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Unusual foreign words without an English equivalent

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Spesenritter (German) Someone who shows off at a dinner or other social situation by paying the bill with their firm’s money. Literally translated as an “expense knight”.

Lagom (Swedish) Not too much, but not too little; not too many, not too few – just the right amount. The baby bear's bed and porridge in Goldilocks were Lagom.

Estrenar (Spanish) To wear or use something for the first time.

Ohrwurm (German) A song or tune hat gets stuck in your head. Literally, an “ear worm”.

Jibaku (Japanese)The act of unintentionally or inadvertently demolishing your own argument in the process of defending your view.

Karelu (Tulu Indian) The mark left on the skin by wearing anything tight.

Backpfeifengesicht (German) A face in need of a slap.

Meinichi (Japanese) Word used to describe the anniversary of someone’s death. Literally, the “Day of Honor.”

Culacino (Italian) The mark left on a table by a moist glass.

Shamozzle (Irish) A disagreement between a group of men that can involve shoving but not as serious as one that involves punching or kicking. In the UK we'd say, 'It was handbags at 50 paces,' i.e. done more for show and nothing that was ever going to break out in serious violence.

Les Postillons (French) The droplets of spittle that come out of people’s mouths as they talk to you.

Yoko meshi (Japanese) The peculiar stress induced by speaking a foreign language. The literal translation is, “horizontal rice” or “a meal eaten sideways, a humorous reference to the fact that Japanese is normally written vertically, whereas most foreign languages are written horizontally.

Cafuné (Portuguese)To repeatedly run your fingers through someone’s hair in a soft and affectionate manner.

Morgenfrisk (Danish) Feeling rested after a good night’s sleep. Literally: 'morningfresh'.

Gadrii Nombor Shulen Jongu (Tibetan) Giving an answer that is unrelated to the question, literally “to give a green answer to a blue question”.

Forelsket (Norwegian) The euphoria you experience when first falling in love. Literally translated as ‘pre-love’.

Consuegro (Spanish) The relationship between those whose children are married to each other, e.g. your father and your father-in-law are consuegros

Atolondrar (Spanish) To become so overwhelmed by something that you get scatter-brained and do something careless, e.g. you're being bombarded by emails, phone calls and text messages all at the same time and you send an email yourself without an attachment.

Desenrascanco (Portuguese) The art of stitching together a solution to a problem at the last minute with no resources, i.e. doing a McGuyver.

Panahiyabhadra (Hindi) A person whose excessive politeness leads him to be taken advantage of (Believe it or not, the literal translation is 'someone who's lost all the hair on his head after being beaten by shoes'; bald people are considered to be gentleman.)

Chaltura (Polish) A unambitious or slightly degrading job in a given profession, performed solely for money, e.g. an actor taking on a role in a rubbish movie just for the paycheck.

Suaimhneas croi (Irish) A bursting happiness and peace experienced after a task has been finished and there's nothing left to be done.

Cavoli Riscaldati (Italian) An attempt to revive a dead love affair. Literally translated, it means “reheated cabbage.”

Fingerspitzengefühl (German) The intuitive ability to think clearly about many individual complex parts and treat them as a whole. Literally, “finger tip feeling”.

Razliubit (Russian) To fall out of love.

Dona ( Yamana, Chile) To take lice from a person’s head and squash them between one’s teeth.

Prozvonit (Czech) To call someone but only let it ring once so that the other person will call you back.

Betsubara (Japanese) Loosely translates to “extra stomach”. It is generally used to describe a female who always has room for dessert.

Drachenfutter (German) A gift that a man brings to his wife or girlfriend after pissing her off. Literally translated as 'dragon’s food'.

Voorpret (Dutch) The sense of enjoyment we feel before an event actually takes places, such as looking through brochures for the vacation you're planning to take. Literally “pre-fun”.

L’esprit d’escalier (French) The feeling you get after leaving a conversation, when you think of all the things you should have said. Literally translate to “the spirit of the staircase”, i.e. what you tink as you're going down the stairs and it's too late to turn back..

Razbliuto (Russian)The sentimental feeling you have about someone you once loved but no longer do.

Koi No Yokan (Japanese) The sense upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going to fall in love.

Fremdschämen (German) The kinder, gentler cousins of Schadenfreude, it means something akin to "vicarious embarrassment." Or, in other words, that feeling you get when you watchThe Office.

Zeg (Georgian) It means "the day after tomorrow."

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