Submit your own Neatorama post and vote for others' posts to earn NeatoPoints that you can redeem for T-shirts, hoodies and more over at the NeatoShop!

Why Don't We Have a Word for That?

The following is reprinted from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader: World of Odd.

Americans excel at inventing colorful expressions and slang, but it turns out other countries are pretty good at it, too. Here are a list of useful words from around the world that should've been invented for the English language:

Kummerspeck (Germany): "Grief bacon" - the weight that you gain by overeating when you're worried about something.

Attaccabottoni (Italy): A "buttonholer" - someone who corners casual acquaintances or even complete strangers for the purpose of telling them their miserable life stories.

Modré Pondeli (Czech): "Blue Monday" - When you skip coming in to work to give yourself a three-day weekend.

Razbliuto (Russia): The feeling you have for a person you used to love, but don't anymore.

Shitta (Iran): Leftover dinner that's eaten for breakfast.

Tartle (Scotland): To momentarily forget the name of the person you're talking to. The word helps reduce the social embarrassment of such situations: "I'm sorry, I tartled there for a moment."

Pana po'o (Hawaii): To scratch your head in an attempt to remember something you've forgotten.

Ngaobera (Easter Island): A sore throat caused by too much screaming.

Backpfeifengesicht (Germany): A face that's just begging for somebody to put their fist in it.

Papierkrieg (Germany): "Paper war" - bureaucratic paperwork whose only purpose is to block you from getting the refund, insurance payment, or other benefit that you have coming.

Rujuk (Indonesia): To remarry your ex-wife.

Mokita (New Guinea): The truth that everyone knows, but no one will speak about.

Gorrero (Spain, Central America): Someone who never picks up the check.

Fucha (Poland): Using your employer's time and resources for your own purposes. (Uncle John had never heard of such a thing and wanted to ask around the office if anyone else had, but everyone is still out to lunch.) Image: pink_fish13 [Flickr]

The article above is reprinted with permission from Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Wonderful World of Odd. This book focuses on the odd-side of life and features articles like the strangest TV shows never made, the creepiest insect on Earth, odd medical conditions, and many, many more. Since 1988, the Bathroom Reader Institute had published a series of popular books containing irresistible bits of trivia and obscure yet fascinating facts. Check out their website here: Bathroom Reader Institute

Wikipedia said:

Saudade (singular) or Saudades (plural) (pron. IPA [s?u'dad(?)] in European Portuguese, [saw'ðaðe] in Galician, and [sau'dad?i] or [sau'dadi] in Brazilian Portuguese) is a Portuguese and Galician word for a feeling of longing for something that one is fond of, which is gone, but might return in a distant future. It often carries a fatalist tone and a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might really never return.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Wikipedia said:

Saudade (singular) or Saudades (plural) (pron. IPA [s?u'dad(?)] in European Portuguese, [saw'ðaðe] in Galician, and [sau'dad?i] or [sau'dadi] in Brazilian Portuguese) is a Portuguese and Galician word for a feeling of longing for something that one is fond of, which is gone, but might return in a distant future. It often carries a fatalist tone and a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might really never return.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
The german phrase for

"To attempt to assassinate an african leaders aunt."

Brace yourselves....


I thank you!
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Pol x's lengthy German word must be a new record! That's pretty long even for German.
One of my sisters invented several words when she was very young, one of which was so original and apropos-sounding that it really SHOULD become part of the English language. Here's the context of its creation:
My sister told Mom she wanted to dress herself, so Mom let her do so. Some time later, she proudly announced that she'd dressed herself, and Mom inspected her. "Very good!" Mom said. "Except that your shirt's on backward... and inside-out."
My sister laughed and said, "I put it on 'gackaway'!"
Ever since then, "gackaway" has been a family word for "inside-out & backward." Isn't it perfect?
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Hmmm . . . when I saw "Papierkrieg", I thought it would refer to "battlefax": The exchange of hostile fax messages.

Now that we're in the new century, I wonder if there's an equivalent word for an email exchange . ..

Oh! A "flamewar".

From watching "Seinfeld", we all became familiar with "Schadefreude", the illicit pleasure of seeing someone else's discomfiture. This was immortalized in Schiller's poem "Ode an de Schadenfreude", which was put to music by Beethoven.

Schadenfreude, Gotterfunken, Tochter aus Elysium.
Wir betreiten, feuertrunken, himmlische den Heiligtum!

etc. . .

Howcome I am the only one laughing?
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
That is NOT a tartle, Joanne is quite right. For those of you not familiar with this particular gem, the tartle is the wool around a sheep's anus that has become matted with excrement, forming dreadlock-type horrors. These have to be cut off due to the flys which eventually infest them and the skin of the unfortunate animal.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Wait a minute! Did I just read "Spain , Central America"? I thought this was a serious blog... Please! Go to your Atlas and you will find Spain in EUROPE! You know, from where Columbus started his Great Joureny. That kind of makes sense, doesn't it?
Anyway, never heard of a "Gorrero" but of a "Gorrón".
Apart from that, interesting post.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Pingo Wellman:

I'm quite sure it means to convey that the word is used in both Spain and Central America, not suggest that Spain is in Central America.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
From French, I'd submit the expression "faire le pont" (literally, "make the bridge"). You "make the bridge" if Tuesday is a holiday and you take Monday off to make it a four-day weekend, or if Thursday is a holiday and you take Friday off to make it a four-day weekend. Effectively, you're "making the bridge" between the holiday and the weekend.

When I learned this phrase in high school French class, I thought, "Wow, there's something really cool about a culture that values its leisure time so much that they have an actual phrase for this."

It's a phrase instead of a single word, but it seemed relevant.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
In the Philippines, we also have a word for "snacks that go with alcohol". It is called "pulutan".

Pulutan is traditionally a dish with a very strong taste, like minced meat that is sauteed with onions, or raw fish in vinegar. In modern times pulutan has begun to include peanuts and chips.

other words I like , without English translation:

"pasma" - a physical condition where one feels sick and hot from the body or any of its parts being subjected to a SUDDEN change in temperature, as when someone ironing clothes suddenly washes her hands with water or someone who just finished hard physical labor takes a is not something like a medical term, but rather akin to a folk illness. it may seem like a a superstitious or primitive belief to foreigners but for us this belief is a part of everyday life.

"nagdilang-anghel"- literally to mean "suddenly had the tongue of an angel". the term must have come about after the Spaniards colonized us, w/c brought Xianity. if someone had "the tongue of angel" it means what he said came true. when someone makes a prediction, people wish that he gets or has "the tongue of angel" so the statement would come true.

"pagbabalik-loob" -literally means "to go back inside". it's something like going back to your inner self or inner soul in order to attain deliverance, redemption or higher spirituality or connection with others. the term is used only in relation to spiritual or moral things, as when one returns to religion. The term "Introspection" doesn't come close because it involves dualistic acts of thinking and feeling whereas our term connotes spiritual or soul rebirth.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)

A hill in New Zealand. This Maori name was in general use, but is now generally abbreviated to Taumata. The name means: the summit of the hill, where Tamatea, who is known as the land eater, slid down, climbed up and swallowed mountains, played on his nose flute to his loved one.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
@ mochili:

The expression "red tape" comes from the medieval English bureaucracy, where official documents such as land deeds where made official with wax seals, which hung from the parchment or paper by red ribbons or cords. So the red ribbons came to be the name for any official document, specifically when overwhelming for a simple thing.
"Papierkrieg" is a more active notion, it suggests that you are actively involved in fighting with officials who deliberately try to prevent you from getting what you want
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
In ireland we have a word 'Soakage'.. its high-carb food (chips etc..) eaten before a boozy night out in order to delay the effects of the alcohol
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
hey! it's a big mistake! i'm russian and we never use this strange word "razbliuto" (i think it doesn't exist at all) but we have a bit similar phrase "serce razbita" that means that the heart is broken...
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.
Click here to access all of this post's 31 comments

Email This Post to a Friend
"Why Don't We Have a Word for That?"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More