Ten Words with No English Language Equivalent You Will Wish They Taught You in School

by Alisha Johnson about a year ago in list

They're just THAT useful.

Ten Words with No English Language Equivalent You Will Wish They Taught You in School

There are so many situations in life where you can’t help but think, “I wish there was a word to describe what I’m experiencing right now.” I created this list to help shorten that list, because believe it or not, there’s a word to describe essentially every situation that occurs (it just might not be in your language). Here are ten common (maybe not so common) experiences that you could never describe with just one word... until now.

1. Schadenfreude: A feeling of enjoyment that comes about when you hear or see about troubles another person is facing.

Have you ever heard about another person’s misfortune and felt oddly... happy? Maybe it’s because you’re not alone in your anguish, maybe it’s because you genuinely like to see other people suffer (if that’s the case: I’m concerned for you). Either way, there’s a word out there to describe this feeling, so you’re not alone (hey, misery loves company, so they say).

2. Treppenwitz: The exact moment we think of the perfect comeback long after the situation we needed the comeback for passes.

We have literally all been in this situation before (if you think you haven’t; think again). You’re fighting, debating, or having a “creative conversation,” and suddenly you can’t think of a worthy response. You probably pull out the, “yeah, whatever” or maybe the “I don’t want to talk about this anymore” card, but everyone knows that you just don’t have anything to say back. Then, maybe a few hours later, maybe just a few seconds too late, it hits you... the PERFECT comeback. But it’s too late; the moment has passed. You can’t bring it up without seeming even more foolish than you did before, so you just sit there in frustration at your slow-thinking and stew in your annoyance for a little while. There’s a word for this too, and I feel like more people should know it, because it happens all too often.

3. Razbliuto: The feeling a person has for someone they once loved.

Everyone has loved someone. The key there being the “ed” at the end of the word love. Not all love lasts forever, and when you’re not feelin’ it anymore, it can be hard to explain. You care for them, but you’re not hung up on them. You still have a special place for them in your heart, maybe you even think about them from time to time, but it’s not love, it’s something different. There’s a word to describe this weird feeling and you should learn it ASAP because I bet you can use it now rather than later.

4. Uffda: The feeling you get when someone else is experiencing pain.

You just watched someone bang their pinky toe against a coffee table and stand there doing that weird little dance and try not to scream as loud as humanly possible. It’s like you can feel the exact pain they’re feeling (if you’re like me, you can’t help but laugh). But, you’re not laughing BECAUSE they’re in pain, it’s because you feel bad about them being in pain and you’re nervously laughing because you don’t know what to do (and you’re probably just glad it’s not you). Here’s the word to describe this...I could have benefited from knowing this one a while ago.

5. Tartle: A time when you remember a person’s face or the situation in which you met them, but you can’t remember their name.

You’re out and about when suddenly you look across the room and see someone you know... but you don’t know them, you know? If it were up to you, you would just pretend you never saw them, but they saw you. The eye contact has been made. They’re probably walking towards you now. How do you know them? You recognize their face enough to know you’ve met them before, but that’s where it ends. Something awkward probably happens from here, but this word is to describe everything before that moment.

6. Shemomedjamo: When you’re full and satisfied, but your meal is too delicious to actually stop eating it.

It’s your favorite meal. You pile up your plate and sit down ready to dig in. Several minutes later, when your food is only halfway gone you’re full enough to vomit (or at least pop the button on your jeans when you exhale) but you just CAN’T stop eating. It’s too good and you can’t help from reaching out and taking another bite... and another bite. Don’t fret, though, you’re definitely not alone, otherwise, there wouldn’t be a word to describe this situation.

7. Pelinti: When you take a bite of food that’s too hot and try to cool it down by letting air into your mouth.

There’s a special place in my heart for this one, because this happens to me daily. You can literally see the steam coming off of your food, but you’re too hungry to care, so you take a bite anyway. Big mistake. It’s too hot to even think about swallowing, but you don’t want to be THAT person and spit your food back out onto your plate. Instead, you open your mouth and pant like a dog outside on a 90 degree day in hopes that this somehow cools down your food and gives your mouth the relief you so desperately need. Next time this happens, after the burning subsides, you can use this word to describe the terrible event that just occurred.

8. Fremdschamen: Feeling embarrassed for someone else.

To me, this is one of THE worst feelings in the whole entire world. You just watched someone do something. Something terribly embarrassing like trip and fall in front of a sidewalk full of people. Or maybe they’re giving a presentation and totally bombing it. Perhaps someone has been talking to you for the past 45 minutes with a piece of food in their teeth. Okay, okay there’s too many situations where you can witness someone doing something potentially embarrassing. This word is describing one of those moments, but is also describing the second-hand embarrassment you feel for them at the same time.

9. Pochemuchka: Someone that asks too many questions.

We all know that person that as a whole isn’t annoying, but they just ask so. many. questions. It’s like they’re a six-year-old in the body of an adult and everything you say gets responded to with a question over and over until you feel like you can’t take it anymore. Now there’s not really a good word to use when describing this person, because aside from asking too many questions, they’re probably pretty decent. Well, now you have a word. Take it and run.

10. Ilugna: A person who is ready to forgive someone once, twice... but never a third time.

This word may even describe you. We’ve all been wronged, many of us by the same person multiple times. Riddle me this, if someone does something to harm you, offend you, or hurt your feelings, you forgive them, right? Most decent people do. But, let’s say they do something terrible again... do you still forgive them? Sure. We’re human; we make mistakes. Now they do it a third time. That’s it. It’s the final straw and there’s no going back now. If it’s three strikes and they’re out, here’s a word for you (or, you know, err for a friend because you would forgive someone no matter what, yes?)

Hopefully, a few of these words described situations you’ve experienced before. I have no clue how to pronounce any of them, but just knowing there are words out there to illustrate a bunch of random life moments that everyone has gone through or felt before makes the world seem a little smaller (and funnier) than before.

Alisha Johnson
Alisha Johnson
Read next: The Unconventional College Life
Alisha Johnson

I'm 21 years old passionate about writing and about life. I suppose that's why I choose to write about life whether through poetry, satirical pieces, lists that simplify it & the like.

See all posts by Alisha Johnson