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Useful words and expressions in other languages we don't have in English.

(144 Posts)
MardyBra Tue 28-Jan-14 23:07:47

Like schadenfreude for example.

Brain has gone blank trying to think of other examples!

ThursdayLast Tue 28-Jan-14 23:09:35

Like déjà vu?

DirtieBertie Tue 28-Jan-14 23:35:46

Gezellig from dutch kind of meaning cosy/nice/pleasant.

ChaosTrulyReigns Tue 28-Jan-14 23:40:30


Oh yup.



DrankSangriaInThePark Wed 29-Jan-14 08:08:38

I always remember pedalling in yoghurt fondly. (a sort of 1 step forward and 2 back analogy)

HyvaPaiva Wed 29-Jan-14 08:11:49

The Danish word hygge is my very favourite. VisitDenmark describes it really well:

'In essence, hygge means creating a nice, warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people around you. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Friends and family – that’s hygge too. And let’s not forget the eating and drinking – preferably sitting around the table for hours on end discussing the big and small things in life.'

AphraBane Wed 29-Jan-14 08:15:55

unverrichteter Dinge

Means 'without having done that which you intended to do'

So you would say: ich ging unverrichteter Dinge nach Hause

An expression created in German post-2002 as a portmanteau of teuer (expensive) and Euro to express the fact that many shops and retaurants used the currency change to raise their prices.

AphraBane Wed 29-Jan-14 08:17:46

Both hygge and gezellig seems to have aspects of the German word Gemütlichkeit/gemütlich.

NinjaPenguin Wed 29-Jan-14 08:24:38


Panzee Wed 29-Jan-14 08:26:24

Brabbag (pr. Bravvag) in the Isle of Man means to warm one's balls (or arse) by the fire.

"Hey there yessir, come on in out of the caul' and have a brabbag"

headoverheels Wed 29-Jan-14 08:27:53

chez is a handy one

Panzee Wed 29-Jan-14 08:30:31

Once someone told me about an actual German word/phrase that meant the crap song played at the end of the night in a club/disco/party to get you to leave. I wish I knew what it was, it's genius!

elQuintoConyo Wed 29-Jan-14 08:40:05


AphraBane Wed 29-Jan-14 08:42:54

it's doppelgänger, Quinto. I think I'm allowed to be pedantic when we're chèz Cunning Linguists.

MardyBra Wed 29-Jan-14 13:51:51

No accent on chez though. wink

Pedants are over here

PeterParkerSays Wed 29-Jan-14 13:56:53

dreich (as in bad weather) - it's just so expressive.

WallyBantersJunkBox Wed 29-Jan-14 14:00:08

Ohrwurm - that tune that you can't get out of your head.

headoverheels Wed 29-Jan-14 14:05:06

Wouldn't that just be earworm in English though?

mrsjavierbardem Wed 29-Jan-14 14:20:57

there is an expression in Japanese which I don't know how to write obis, but it means 'parental blindness' and covers how all parents think their own children are beautiful, it's like rose tinted spectacles.

mrsjavierbardem Wed 29-Jan-14 14:29:08


(SCHV AIN-hoont) German: a low-down character; a dirty dog

But the best words we don't have to me, are Yiddish
kvetch means “complain, whine or fret,”

To drag, traditionally something you don’t really need; to carry unwillingly. When people “shlep around,” they are dragging themselves, perhaps slouchingly.

A clumsy, inept person, similar to a klutz (also a Yiddish word). The kind of person who always spills his soup.

GwendolineMaryLacey Wed 29-Jan-14 14:32:30

And chutzpah which is more than just cheek or nerve

TheDietStartsTomorrow Wed 29-Jan-14 14:34:49

In Arabic they say 'Ya Haaj' which is a polite way of addressing or calling a stranger. Very commonly used in Saudi and very respectable, yet direct. We don't have an equivalent in English.

mrsjavierbardem Wed 29-Jan-14 14:36:12

i love chutzpah too

IfNotNowThenWhen Wed 29-Jan-14 16:27:33

Ah, welll, Yiddish has so many words to describe types of people. It was always kind of the language of the street/ the family, so has very many "human" words (if that makes sense)
The way my Nan described Shmuck, Shlemeil and Shlemozzle to me:

The Shmuck is the one who bumps into the waiter, the Shlemeil is the waiter, and the Shlemozzle is the poor sap who gets the soup spilled all over him!
(Apologies for spellings-I have mostly heard Yiddish words,not seen them written!)
This new topic is fun!

IfNotNowThenWhen Wed 29-Jan-14 16:30:04

This is English , but Yorskshire, so dialect:

Nesh, as in a person who is always cold.

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