Category Archives: words


On I found an article for 38 wonderful words in other languages that should be incorporated into English. I am posting the list here, with my own notes and comments on how I would use them (once I figure out how they are pronounced).

Italics are direct quotes from

~Kummerspeck (German)
Excess weight gained from emotional overeating. Literally, grief bacon.

I am not sure about the weight gain part, but I am all for grief bacon. Do the Germans have a word for grief chocolate? Or grief coffee? Cheese?

~Shemomedjamo (Georgian)
You know when you’re really full, but your meal is just so delicious, you can’t stop eating it? The Georgians feel your pain. This word means, “I accidentally ate the whole thing.”

This could be a part of my vocabulary at least three times a day. Imagine the economy of words!

~Tartle (Scots)
The nearly onomatopoeic word for that panicky hesitation just before you have to introduce someone whose name you can’t quite remember.

Tanya goes through this any time she is talking to people. She has to meet you at least twenty times before she remembers your name, even if you happen to be named John or Mary.

~Mamihlapinatapai (Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuego)
This word captures that special look shared between two people, when both are wishing that the other would do something that they both want, but neither want to to.

So there *is* a word for this…

~Backpfeifengesicht (German)
A face badly in need of a fist.

Very descriptive. I will make a note of this for future reference should I ever have sudden (or not so sudden) violent urges.

~Iktsuarpok (Inuit)
You know that feeling of anticipation when you’re waiting for someone to show up at your house and you keep going outside to see if they’re there yet? This is the word for it.

Yes. I have a different word for this. Punctuality. If more people practiced this word I would not have to poke my head out the door like a gopher every few seconds. One of these times I expect someone to be standing right outside with one of those foam bats.

~Pelinti (Bull, Ghana)
Your friend bites into a piece of piping hot pizza, then opens his mouth and sort of tilts his head around while making “aaaarrahh” noise. The Ghanaians have a word for that. More specifically, it means “to move hot food around in your mouth.”

I personally make a different noise when said thing happens, but the sentiment is there. Also, as the list goes on, I feel like other languages are very specific with their words and wonder why English is so generic.

~Greng-jai (Thai)
That feeling you get when you don’t want someone to do something for you because it would be a pain for them.

That is everything, all the time. I have such a fear of inconveniencing others I think it counts as an actual phobia of sorts.

~Mencolek (Indonesian)
You know that old trick where you tap someone lightly on the opposite shoulder from behind to fool them? That Indonesians have a word for it.

Huh… well then.

To make a squeaking sound by sucking air past the lips in order to gain the attention of a dog or child.

You mean whistling?

~Gigil (Filipino)
The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is irresistibly cute.

I don’t believe I have ever had this urge, but should I ever get it, I will be prepared to explain it in Filipino.

~Yuputka (Ulwa)
A word made for walking in the woods at night, it’s the phantom sensation of something crawling on your skin.

I get this sensation each time I see a spider, ant, fly, moth, you get the idea… In fact, just thinking of these things brings on all sorts of shivery feelings.

~Zhaghzhagh (Persian)
The chattering of teeth from the cold or from rage.

I have only ever experienced one of these teeth chattering causes, but unfortunately this winter is so ridiculously hot so far that I don’t think I can use my new word. Obviously someone needs to enrage me so I may experience its second definition.

~Vybafnout (Czech)
A word tailor-made for annoying older brothers – it means to jump out and say boo.

Do they have one for younger brothers? Because then I could teach it to my daughter. Maybe I can improvise.

~Fremdschamen (German): Myotahapea (Finnish)
The kinder, gentler cousins of Schadenfreude, both these words mean something akin to “vicarious embarrassment.”

This is what my friends feel for me on a daily basis… vicarious embarrassment. I do enough clumsy, silly, illogical things each day to where all of my friends could live off of my embarrassment for the rest of their lives, never having to experience their own.

~Lagom (Swedish)
Maybe Goldilocks was Swedish? This slippery little word is hard to define, but means something like, “Not too much, and not too little, but juuuuust right.”

That is the way I feel every morning when I take my first sip of coffee.

~Palegg (Norwegian)
Sandwich Artists unite! The Norwegians have a non-specific descriptor for anything – ham, cheese, jam, Nutella, mustard, herring, pickles, Doritos, you name it – you might consider putting into a sandwich .

I need to go to Norway. And try a sandwich with all of the above.

~Layogenic (Tagalog)
Remember in Clueless when Cher describes someone as “a full-on Monet… from far away, it’s OK, but up close it’s a big old mess”? That’s exactly what this word means. 

You mean they have a word to describe my entire life? I love it!

~Bakku-shan (Japanese)
Or there’s this Japanese term, which describes the experience of seeing a woman who appears pretty from behind but not from the front. 

I prefer to be looked at sideways, personally. Right side if possible.

~Seigneur-terraces (French)
Coffee shop dwellers who sit at tables a long time but spend little money. 

So, me in a nutshell, on a good day.

~Ya’arburnee (Arabic)
This word is the hopeful declaration that you will die before someone you love deeply, because you cannot stand to live without them. Literally, may you bury me. 

I think this is every parent for their child. I hope.

~Pana Po’o (Hawaiian)
“Hmm, now where did I leave those keys?” he said, pana po’oing. It means to scratch your head in order to help you remember something you’ve forgotten. 

Does it count if you just twirl your hair unconsciously while staring at the ceiling?

~Slampadato (Italian)
Addicted to the UV glow of tanning salons? This word describes you. 

And everyone else in Southern California. If you are glowing orange, you are addicted to tanning salons. Just saying.

~Zeg (Georgian)
It means “the day after tomorrow.” OK, we do have “overmorrow” in English, but when was the last time someone used that?

Actually, several languages have that notion. English speakers just don’t use it, despite it’s obvious usefulness. Think of how much easier you could make plans.

~Cafune (Brazilian Portuguese)
Leave it to the Brazilians to come up with a word for “tenderly running your fingers through your lover’s hair.”

I wouldn’t know.

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

That went well.

~Kaelling (Danish)
You know that woman who stands on her doorstep (or in line at the supermarket, or the park, or in a restaurant) cursing at her children? The Danes know her, too. 

I think everyone knows her. And shaking their heads.

~Boketto (Japanese)
It’s nice to know that the Japanese think enough of the act of gazing vacantly into the distance without thinking to give it a name. 

I thought it was called spacing out. But then again, that is two words.

~L’esprit de l’escalier (French)
Literally, stairwell wit – a too late retort though of only after departure. 

Hindsight is 20/20. And easier to pronounce.

~Cotisuelto (Caribbean Spanish)
A word that would aptly describe the prevailing fashion trent among American men under 40, it means one who wears the shit tail outside of his trousers. 

Men over 40 do this as well. Obviously they need a new word.

~Packesel (German)
The packesel is the person who’s stuck carrying everyone else’s bags on a trip. Literally, a burro. 

You generally can find this man with his family, carrying his wife’s and his children’s things. They refer to him as Hubby or Daddy.

~Hygge (Danish)
Denmark’s mantra, hygge is the pleasant, genial, and intimate feeling associated with sitting around a fire in the winter with close friends. 

I need to immediately board a plane for Denmark. And while there make friends in order to partake in this.

~Cavoli Riscaldati (Italian)
The result of attempting to revive un unworkable relationship. Translates to “reheated cabbage.” 

Well when you put it that way… no wonder it keeps failing.

~Bilita Mpash (Bantu)
An amazing dream. Not just a “good” dream; the opposite of a nightmare. 

When I am done making friends in Denmark I need to fly to Africa and take a nap.

~Litost (Czech)
Milan Kundera describes the emotion as “a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery.”

Very Camus like. Does Kundera describe what one must do when coming to this realization?

~Luftmensch (Yiddish)
There are several Yiddish words to describe social misfits. This one is for an impractical dreamer with no business sense. 

I guess this term is reserved for the son-in-law.

~Schlemiel and schlimazel (Yiddish)
Someone prone to bad luck. Yiddish distinguishes between the schlemiel and schlimazel, whose fates would probably be grouped under those of the klutz in other languages. The schlemiel is the traditional maladroit, who spills his coffee; the schlimazel is the one on whom it’s spilled. 

What happens when I spill my coffee on myself? Because I do it all the time, and I feel if this is the case, I should have my own word.

P.S. The picture seems to have nothing to do with this post, but who doesn’t want to see cute kittens sleeping? I think there should be word for “a sleeping small furry creature.” If there already is one, please let me know immediately.


A Short Story

My friend sent me a link to a short story contest. Since I don’t have enough to do, I thought it would be fun to enter. The contest is simple enough, write a short story. However, the story has to be 100 words or less. I didn’t realize how difficult that would be until I tried doing it.

At first I wanted to get a very brief beginning middle and end of some kind. But for me, storytelling is in the details, and this format did not allow for that. So I wrote a vignette of sorts. It is not a story, hardly any plot, but rather a glimpse.

I can’t post it here since that would disqualify me from the contest, even though I don’t think they would ever find out. The contest will be over in a few weeks, and since I don’t expect to win I will be able to post it then.

In the meantime, here are some comments Sean made after he read it:

“you’re dealing with really strong, concrete sensory details.”

He also suggested I give him ” an action that’s become a tableau vivant perceived through the narrow aperture of memory.”

I edited it a few times, and I think I intensified the moment, but the word constraint makes it difficult to delve into too much detail. I am not allotted the use of enough adjectives unless the entire (very short) piece is nothing more than a string of adjectives laced together to (re)create the moment. I actually kind of think that would be an interesting experiment with words, but for now I will simply experiment with word economy.


For Sean

I see what you did to your class in class with class. Do you need a tell to tell which trope I am using? In your handout you told them you wanted literary examples. Those who didn’t do it were punished to set an example. They didn’t make the grade, so they were graded down. I shall earn my keep by keeping you entertained.

I know, in theory, according to your assignment, I was also supposed to use Theory. Well, I have my own theory on that.
Still no examples, but I did find a picture of a figure I figured you would want to picture. I found nothing on Google, but before going to close the window, I found something close. To question what I found, I have a question for you: If two words are spelled the same, but pronounced differently, would you pronounce them Antanaclasis? If so, then I might have an exemplary exemplary.
If you are still here, here is a light definition of Antanaclasis: from the Greek “to reflect light” or “bend against,” it is now used to shift meaning. And I will bend my energies to finding samples for you to sample. I hope you don’t mind, but I didn’t spend too much time on what it means. Just keep in mind the second time a word is used, my means for using it have shifted.
In case you want three case studies, and you are want for them, I have found three texts, which I was going to text to you, but I thought it would be better if I spent the better part of the day taking part in writing this instead. After all, words can make you smart. Oh yes, words can smart.
Alright fine already, my fine findings are all ready.
They may sound silly, but they are sound.
I find the very first one is very easy. To make it harder I will let you find it.
I am sorry, I tried to locate them all within one work, but it was trying, and it didn’t work. However, if you follow the links you will see they are still somewhat linked.
I will count on you to be able to count with me.
I wanted to keep this post short, so I am short on pictures. Besides, I did not find any fitting ones that would fit within the page borders.
In a way, I am having way too much fun with this. Much like you must have had when you conceived it. Trying to find examples for you, I read an article that maintained I could maintain this indefinitely with all words except articles. I assume I could assume such a task, but in the end I would rather end, at the end.