Beautiful words in other languages and their meanings

Read time: 4 minutes

Children reading beautiful words in different languages

Language, in its purest form, is an art and a form of expression that goes beyond the borders and cultures that separate us. In every language there are words that capture the essence of emotions and experiences so deeply-rooted and particular to a context that they often lack a direct translation into other languages. These are words that describe feelings, sensations, or beautiful situations that not only enrich our vocabulary, but also offer us a richer, more varied view of the world.

Below, we will explore some of these words from different cultures that hold unique meanings and emotions that only exist in one language and are difficult to translate into other languages. With these terms, we enrich our linguistic repertoire and also broaden our understanding of the world around us, opening our minds and hearts to the infinite variety of experiences that make up the human character.

The emotional richness of international terms

In our search for understanding and empathy, words are our allies. Foreign languages offer terms that encapsulate feelings and situations that we can all recognize, although we cannot always verbalize them in our own language; this is because they only exist in that language and it is very difficult to translate them while keeping the same meaning and original message.

One such term is “viraha“ in Hindi, which expresses the emotional pain of separation or missing a loved one. This word’s meaning embraces the sadness and nostalgia a person feels when away from someone they love: a common, but often indescribable emotion in many cultures. Those who feel “viraha“ know how much they love someone by how much they miss them and by the pain they feel in their absence.

Another profound term is “toska” in Russian, which describes a deep spiritual anguish, a kind of existential sadness with no apparent specific cause, as defined by one of the country’s most celebrated writers: Vladimir Nabokov. This word reflects the complexity of human emotions and the struggle to find meaning in life.

Foreign words with beautiful meanings

Every language has its linguistic gems, terms so specific and descriptive that they stand out as testimonies to the beauty of human thought. For example, the Japanese word “wabi-sabi” describes an aesthetic that finds beauty in the imperfection and transience of life. This concept teaches us to appreciate natural beauty and authenticity, accepting the passage of time, the decline of things, and the imperfections and scars that make each experience unique.

In Norwegian culture, “peiskos” refers to the feeling of warmth and happiness one feels when sitting in front of a fireplace on a cold day. This word evokes the comfort and satisfaction of enjoying the simple pleasures in life. Enjoying the warmth of the fire and the crackling of the flames.

In Danish, there is the word “hygge”, which expresses the happiness and well-being found in small everyday pleasures, such as being curled up with a good book or enjoying dinner with friends. This term has gained popularity around the world because of its association with a cozy, peaceful lifestyle. It was about time someone gave a name to the enjoyment we find in small plans, alone or with friends.

As we explore beautiful words from different languages, we come across concepts that resonate universally. “Forelsket”, a Norwegian word, describes the euphoria of falling in love: that heady feeling of happiness and anticipation that goes with the first moments of a romantic relationship. A feeling of happiness and, at the same time, that touch of vertigo we feel when falling in love.

The term “meraki” in Greek is used to describe what happens when you leave a piece of your soul, creativity, or love in your work. It means doing something with passion and absolute dedication, giving a little piece of yourself to the task at hand. Once completed, you are relieved to have successfully accomplished and completed a task that you put all your effort into.

The German word “wanderlust” expresses a desire to travel, to explore the world, and to experience new cultures and places. This word resonates with those who feel called to adventure and exploration. The term reflects an irrepressible desire to travel the world to learn about new experiences.

In Korean, “nunchi” is the ability to read other people’s emotions and moods: an emotional intelligence that allows for effective, empathetic communication. Some people have the ability to read the circumstances of others and react in one way or another, depending on how they are.

Have you ever been told a joke that wasn’t funny and laughed for that very reason? In Indonesian, that feeling is called “jayus”. There are situations where someone tells a joke that isn’t even a little bit funny and, as absurd as it may seem, that makes you want to laugh all the more.

A very interesting word in Filipino is “gigil”. It refers to the impulsive need to pinch something because it is unbearably soft, for example, babies’ cheeks, puppies, kittens etc.

These terms are just a small sample of the immense richness that can be found in each culture’s vocabulary. Each foreign word with a beautiful meaning that we learn invites us to experience the world from a different perspective, to feel more deeply, and to communicate more accurately. Therefore, each term from another culture that we add to our linguistic repertoire is like opening a window to a whole new landscape, inviting us to explore the depths of human nature in ways we could barely imagine before.

In conclusion, words have the power to transport us, to connect us with other cultures, and to broaden our emotional understanding. By incorporating words from other languages into our vocabulary, we not only enrich the way we speak, but also the way we see and feel the world around us.


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