Posted by: Jack Henry | December 22, 2020

Editor’s Corner: Words I Wish We Had in English

Holiday greetings!

A while back, I came across this posting about words that we should have in English. The idea intrigued me—don’t we already have enough words (and synonyms)? It turns out that these wonderful words beautifully capture some emotions that are often hard to articulate. I am only sharing 10 of the words from the article (and their derivations). I have shortened the explanations for brevity’s sake.

voorpret: (Dutch)That intense feeling of joy and excitement you feel just before something fun is about to start, like packing for a dream vacation.

myötähäpeä: (Finnish) The feeling of “co-embarrassment” or “secondhand embarrassment” you feel when someone you’re with says or does something embarrassing.

retrouvailles: (French) The feeling you get when you reunite with someone after a long separation. The Norwegians call this “gjensynsglede.”

torschlusspanik: (German) The feeling of last-minute panic you feel when you realize you are about to lose an opportunity or opportunities; time is running out.

iktsuarpok: (Inuit) The act of waiting for someone to arrive or to contact you and checking over and over again to see if they have.

forelsket: (Norwegian/Danish) The euphoric feeling you have when you’re just starting to fall in love.

razljubit: (Russian) The sentimental feeling you have for someone you once loved but no longer do.

toska: (Russian) The longing for something never lost, and a pain or melancholy feeling because you have nothing to long for. This word is almost impossible to describe in English but Vladimir Nabakov describes it as “…a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause…a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning.”

kikig: (Filipino)The feeling of butterflies and happiness you get from being around love (or the idea of love).

mamihlapinatapai: (Yaghan) A wordless meaningful look between two people who want the other to initiate something they both desire but neither wants to start. This word holds the Guinness world record for “most succinct word.”

And one of my favorites (to be overcome with emotion):

Have a lovely day!

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Ext: 765432

Pronouns she/her/hers

About Editor’s Corner

Editor’s Corner keeps your communication skills sharp by providing information on grammar, punctuation, JHA style, and all things English. As editors, we spend our days reading, researching, and revising other people’s writing. We love to spend a few extra minutes to share what we learn with you and keep it fun while we’re doing it.

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