Four Words the English Language Really Needs

Whether you are a native English-speaker or you learned it as an additional language, you'll have had plenty of moments where you just could not think of the right word. Maybe you ended up replacing it. Maybe you used a longer phrase instead. If you speak another language, perhaps the problem was not that you could not think of the right word, but that there is no English equivalent for it at all!

Here are a few of our favourite words from other languages that do not have an English translation, but that we think English should absorb as soon as possible!

Kummerspeck (German)

The German word kummerspeck translates literally as "grief bacon". It is the excessive weight gain suffered while emotional eating, particularly emotional eating to avoid negative feelings, such as after a breakup or because of stress.

Gattara (Italian)

The closest thing in English to the Italian gattara would be a "crazy cat lady". A gattara is an elderly lady who devotes her time to caring for stray cats. While our “crazy cat lady” generally takes in the stray cats, caring for them in her own home, a gattara feeds and cares for homeless cats on the streets.

L’ésprit d’escalier (French)

If you have ever walked away from an argument or discussion only to think of a great comeback a few minutes or hours later, the French have a word for that, l’ésprit d’escalier. The word translates as "staircase wit" and came about because philosopher Denis Diderot said he would think of a great response only by walking away and literally walking down the stairs.  

Sobremesa (Spanish)

There must be a word for when people are done eating but they continue having a great conversation, right? Not in English, but the Spanish word is sobremesa.

Those are a few of our favourites, but how about yours? What do you feel the urge to express, but aren't able to because the word just isn't there?

Dave Child

Dave is the founder of Readable.io, and has been building websites since the early 90s. He's one of those fortunate people who gets to do what he loves for a living.

       


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