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Rays of beautiful light pierce a canopy of trees near my hometown of New Glarus, Wisconsin. The Japanese might call this “komorebi,” which means “the interplay between light and leaves when sunlight shines through trees.”  → Buy a Print

If you have followed my Montana blog at all you already know I am fascinated with language and words. And I find some of the more interesting words are those from foreign languages with no equivalent in our own English language. I keep an eye out for words like these is because I am often searching for titles for some of my Montana photographs. And foreign words are excellent sources of inspiration.

Over the years I have kept a list of some of those words I find most appealing. So here is a list of 25 awesome words from across the world without an English equivalent.

Schadenfreude
German
Definition: The enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people.

Je ne sais quoi
French
Definition: A certain something or quality that cannot be easily described or expressed.

L‘esprit de l’escalier
French
Definition: The feeling you get when you leave a conversation and think of all the things you should have said (a.k.a. stairwell wit).

Lagom
Swedish
Definition: Not too much, not too little, but just the right amount. Moderation. It is usally used in reference to the etiquette of taking your share.

Kummerspeck
German
Definition: Excess weight gained from emotional overeating. 

Fargin
Yiddish
Definition: To wholeheartedly appreciate the success of others.

Zeg
Georgian
Definition: The day after tomorrow.

Hyggelig
Danish
Definition: Warm, friendly, and cozy feelings in the company of others.

Madrugada
Spanish
Definition: That time of day occurring between midnight and early morning.

Komorebi
Japanese
Definition: The interplay between light and leaves when sunlight shines through trees.

Bokeh
Japanese
Definition: The visual quality of the out-of-focus areas of a photographic image.

Tartle
Scottish
Definition: The uncomfortable hesitation before introducing someone because you have forgotten their name.

Tampo
Filipino
Definition: Withdrawing affection from a person when one’s feelings have been hurt.

Waldeinsamkeit
Swiss
Definition: The feeling you get when alone in the woods; connecting with nature.

Cafuné
Portuguese
Definition: To run your fingers through someone’s hair in a soft and affectionate manner.

Koi No Yokan
Definition: Japanese
Definition: The sense you get upon first meeting a person that the two of you will fall in love.

Mangata
Swedish
Definition: The glimmering, road-like reflection that the moon creates on the water.

Fatum
Latin
Definition: An event (or a course of events) that will inevitably happen in the future.

Kaizen
Japanese
Definition:  A business philosophy of continuous improvement of business practices and personal efficiency.

Backpfeifengesicht
German
Definition: A face badly in need of a fist.

Wabi-Sabi
Japanese
Definition: Finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycles of life and death.

Luftmensch
Yiddish
Definition: An impractical dreamer with no business sense.

Toska
Russian
Definition: A sensation of great spiritual anguish.

Jayus
Indonesian
Definition: A poorly told joke that is so bad and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh.

Cavoli Riscaldati
Italian
Definition: The result of attempting to revive an unworkable relationship. Translated literally it means “reheated cabbage.”

Montana Is the "last Great Place"
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