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Cunning linguists

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

143 replies

MardyBra · 28/01/2014 23:07

Like schadenfreude for example.

Brain has gone blank trying to think of other examples!

OP posts:
ThursdayLast · 28/01/2014 23:09

Like déjà vu?

DirtieBertie · 28/01/2014 23:35

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

ChaosTrulyReigns · 28/01/2014 23:40


Oh yup.



DrankSangriaInThePark · 29/01/2014 08:08

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

HyvaPaiva · 29/01/2014 08:11

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 · 29/01/2014 08:15

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 · 29/01/2014 08:17

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

NinjaPenguin · 29/01/2014 08:24


Panzee · 29/01/2014 08:26

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 · 29/01/2014 08:27

chez is a handy one

Panzee · 29/01/2014 08:30

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 · 29/01/2014 08:40


AphraBane · 29/01/2014 08:42

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

MardyBra · 29/01/2014 13:51

No accent on chez though. Wink

Pedants are over here

OP posts:
PeterParkerSays · 29/01/2014 13:56

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

WallyBantersJunkBox · 29/01/2014 14:00

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

headoverheels · 29/01/2014 14:05

Wouldn't that just be earworm in English though?

mrsjavierbardem · 29/01/2014 14:20

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 · 29/01/2014 14:29


(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 · 29/01/2014 14:32

And chutzpah which is more than just cheek or nerve

TheDietStartsTomorrow · 29/01/2014 14:34

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 · 29/01/2014 14:36

i love chutzpah too

IfNotNowThenWhen · 29/01/2014 16:27

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 · 29/01/2014 16:30

This is English , but Yorskshire, so dialect:

Nesh, as in a person who is always cold.

Bonsoir · 29/01/2014 18:28

The French envy us "serendipity".

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