English is a decent enough language I suppose but don’t you sometimes find that it lacks a certain je ne sais quoi?
Thankfully, there are some brilliant words from around the world that we could start using to add some more spice to our conversation.
Attaccabottoni – Italian
Try saying this word out loud just once and you’ll never want to stop saying it. To be fair, you could say the same about just about any Italian word. I can’t be the only person who turns into a giggling little kid when I say stuff like due bicchieri di latte freddo. Apart from being the best sounding language in the whole world, Italian also has amazing words like attaccabottoni. This means someone who will latch onto anyone and bore them senseless with endless stories.
Pisan Zapra – Malaysian
The incredibly specific meaning of pisan zapra is the time it takes to eat a banana. This sounds like an unreliable way of measuring time to me, as I am sure my banana-munching uncle George can chomp through one a lot quicker than I could. Still, it’s a great concept.
Luftmensch – Yiddish
Do you know any daydreamers who waste away their life with no income or discernible business sense? Yep, that there is a luftmensch you have.
Pesamenteiro – Portuguese
This is a very specific word that you could wait your whole life to use and never get the opportunity. You see, it refers to someone who joins mourners at wakes with the ulterior motive of getting fed for free. Presumably this is a problem in the Portuguese speaking world if they felt the need to create a word to cover it.
Zeg – Georgian
This is a really simple word but it is one we desperately need in English. It means the day after tomorrow. Wouldn’t saying this 3 letter word before a lot easier than saying the day after tomorrow every time? In the same vein, the Spanish can say anteayer to mean the day before yesterday and anteanoche to mean the night before last.
Farpotshket – Yiddish
I couldn’t resist adding another Yiddish one, as this one is so good. Farpotshket means when something was just a little bit broken but then you tried to fix it and made an utter mess of it. This is a word that I am probably going to start using every single day from now on, regardless of whether anyone who hears me can understand it.
Komorebi – Japanese
You know when you’re standing under a tree and you see sunlight coming through the leaves? Yeah? Wouldn’t life be great if there was a single word to describe this? Hey, komorebi.
L’appel du vide – French
This is the call of the void. It is the little voice in your head that urges you to jump off a bridge, to steer off the road or to keep walking into the ocean until you start seeing crabs and turtles pecking out your eyes.
Koi No Yokan – Japanese
This is perhaps the most beautiful phrase in the list. It means that fleeting sensation when you first meet someone and already know that you are going to fall in love with them. Hopefully they don’t turn out to be an attaccabottoni or a luftmensch.