More Words We Need in English


wordsAs rich as the English language is, there are plenty of words in other languages that English has not yet adopted. In addition to these that have already appeared on these pages, here are a few more of these much-needed gems:

  • Hikikomori (Japanese) — A teenager or 20-something who has withdrawn from social life, often obsessed with TV and video games.
  • Gadrii Nombor Shulen Jongu (Tibetan) — Literally, it means “giving a green answer to a blue question,” and refers to the practice of giving an answer that is unrelated to the question.
  • Iktsuarpok (Inuit) — To go outside to check if an expected visitor has arrived, over and over again.
  • Kummerspeck (German) — Literally meaning “grief bacon,” this refers to excess weight gained from emotional overeating.
  • Kaelling (Danish) — An ugly, miserable woman who yells obscenities at her kids. Evidently they have conventions at Walmart whenever I need to go shopping.
  • Bufetak (Czech) — A man who hangs around in cafes and eats leftovers.
  • Shibui (Japanese) — Having a simple, subtle, and unobtrusive beauty.
  • Layogenic (Tagalog) — A person who is only attractive from a distance.
  • Neidbau (German) — A building (often of little or no value to the proprietor) constructed with the sole purpose of harassing or inconveniencing his neighbor in some way.
  • Skämskudde (Swedish) — A real or imagined pillow one hides behind when experiencing vicarious embarrassment due to watching something embarrassing.
  • Sitzriese (German) – A person who appears tall when seated but short when standing.
  • Pochemuchka (Russian) – A person who asks too many questions.
  • Pilkunnussija (Finnish) — A person who believes it is his or her destiny to stamp out all spelling and punctuation mistakes at the cost of popularity, self-esteem and mental well-being.
  • Ojama Shimasu (Japanese) — Uttered when entering someone’s home as a guest, it literally means, “I’m going to bother you.”

For more examples, check out this great post by our friends at Bookshelf.

2 replies »

  1. Ojama Shimasu. It is very strange that these words do not have any synonym in English. There are even separate words for meat (pork) and the animal (pig) it comes from, while in most languages there is only one word for both. English. A beautiful, yet strange language.


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