13 Untranslatable European Words

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Do you remember our 15 European Language Facts article? Fact #7 was the Georgian untranslatable word; shemomedjamo.

Here are 13 words from different European languages that just like shemomedjamo can’t be translated into English.

1. Utepils (Norwegian)

Utepils (Norwegian)

Who doesn’t like to drink a beer outside? Norwegians love this activity so much that they have a special name for this kind of beer: utepils.

2. Abbiocco (Italian)

Abbiocco (Italian)

We all know the feeling of sleepiness you get after a big meal. Thanks to Italians now we have a word to describe it: abbiocco.

3. Vybafnout (Czech)

Vybafnout (Czech)

We love the idea of the word vybafnout, it means “to jump out and say BOO”!

4. Desenrascanço (Portuguese)

Desenrascanço (Portuguese)

Remember MacGyver? Portuguese people use the word desenrascanço when referring to a completely improvised solution.

5. Kaelling (Danish)

Kaelling (Danish)

According to the Danes, kaelling is a woman that curses at her children at the supermarket, restaurant or park.

6. Fernweh (German)

Fernweh (German)

We believe Fernweh should be adopted by all those languages that don’t have a word to describe a “crave for travel that makes you feel homesick for a place you have never been to”.

7. Friolero (Spanish)

Friolero (Spanish)

In Spanish there’s a special word to describe those who are sensitive to cold temperatures and weather: friolero

8. Gökotta (Swedish)

Gökotta (Swedish)

Gökotta is the perfect word for poets. It could be translated as “to wake up early in the morning with the purpose of going outside to hear the first birds sing”.

9. Lieko (Finnish)

Lieko (Finnish)

Lieko is a Finnish word used to describe a tree trunk which is so full of water that it has sunk to the bottom of a lake.

10. Zeg (Georgian)

Zeg (Georgian)

This Georgian word is extremely needed in English, why say “the day after tomorrow” when you can just use zeg?

11. Tartle (Scottish)

Tartle (Scottish)

To tartle is to hesitate when having to introduce someone whose name you’ve forgetten.

12. Pochemuchka (Russian)

Pochemuchka (Russian)

How would you call someone that asks too many questions? Russian has the perfect word: pochemuchka.

13. Madarlatta (Hungarian)

Madarlatta (Hungarian)

Hungarian’s use the word madarlatta to talk about the food that you’ve taken to a picnic, trip, hike etc. but returns home untouched.


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