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10 Foreign Words We Desperately Need in the English Language

English can be inadequate—there are some feelings that just can’t be described in our tongue. For those times you accidentally eat the whole thing or are longing for a place that you’ve never been, here are the languages that step up with the perfect word.

Hiraeth (Welsh)

Thomas Wolfe said, “You can’t go home again,” meaning the place you long for no longer exists. The Welsh word hiraeth is the same concept and loosely translates to something even more intense than homesickness: missing a place you can’t go back to.

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Sinvergüenza (Spanish)

The Brits might use the term “cheeky” to refer to someone who is shameless,  but I like the Spanish word sinvergüenza even better. It literally translates to “without shame,” but is commonly used to refer to someone who is being naughty or sassy.

Shemomedjamo (Georgian)

If there was ever a word that the American vocabulary needed, it’s shemomedjamo, the Georgian word that means “I accidentally ate the whole thing.” I foresee Domino’s renaming a pizza after this word in the very near future.

Pelinti (Buli)

[st_content_ad]We’ve all been there–your food arrives looking so delicious that you can’t help but take a bite, even though it’s still steaming. The result: pelinti, the Buli (a language spoken in Ghana) word for when you have to move hot food around in your mouth in an attempt to not burn yourself.

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Ya’arburnee (Arabic)

When you love someone so much you don’t want to live without them, you may tell them ya’arburnee, an Arabic word that translates as “may you bury me.” That way, you’ll never have to live a day without them.

Voorpret (Dutch)

Do you ever feel like half the fun of going on vacation is the anticipation you experience leading up to a trip? That’s what the Dutch call voorpret, the emotion you feel before you do something fun or exciting.

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Dépaysement (French)

Dépaysement literally translates to “disorientation,” but it refers to a more travel-specific kind of confusion: that of being out of your element and away from your home country.

Jayus (Indonesian)

Ever heard a joke that was so terrible, yet delivered so earnestly, that you felt compelled to laugh anyway? That pity chuckle is known as jayus in Indonesian.

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Utepils (Norwegian)

Utepils may be a Norwegian word, but the act that it refers to—sitting outside in the sun and enjoying a beer—has universal appeal. Next time the weather cooperates, invite your friends out to the nearest beer garden for utepils.

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Tidsoptimist (Swedish)

Are you a tidsoptimist or do tidsoptimists drive you crazy? A tidsoptimist is what the Swedish call someone who is always late. The word literally translates to a “time optimist,” meaning the person isn’t habitually running behind on purpose, but rather because they truly believe that they have more time than they really do.

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Caroline Morse is a Senior Editor with SmarterTravel. Follow her on Instagram @TravelwithCaroline and Twitter @CarolineMorse1 for photos from around the world.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2017. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.

By Caroline Morse Teel

Unfortunately for her bank account, Principal Editor Caroline Morse Teel is powerless to resist a good flight deal. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline.

Caroline joined Boston-based SmarterTravel in 2011 after living in Ireland, London, and Manhattan. She's traveled to all seven continents, jumped out of planes, and bungeed off bridges in the pursuit of a good story. She loves exploring off-the-beaten path destinations, anything outdoorsy, and all things adventure.

Her stories have also appeared online at USA Today, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Yahoo,, TripAdvisor, Buzzfeed, Jetsetter, Oyster, Airfarewatchdog, and others.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "Earplugs. A good pair has saved my sleep and sanity many times!"

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.

Travel Motto: "Don't be boring."

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Aisle (when the first class private suite isn't available)."

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