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Does Not Translate (doesnottranslate.com)
114 points by renameme 4 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 127 comments





I’m always wary of these lists, because if you search for the languages you know you always see that most of them are actually translatable and/or rare expressions that nobody uses.

The problem with this list in particular is that it's composed of user submissions on Reddit, where people probably only know their language + English + maybe a third language.

For example, "björntjänst" under Swedish. If you actually check the Reddit post, you can see that people have posted "niedźwiedzia przysługa" (Polish), "Bärendienst" (German), "medveđa usluga" (Serbocroatian) and "bjørnetjeneste" (Norwegian) as the literal same word. I can also confirm that the Finnish "karhunpalvelus" is also a literal one-to-one translation.


> "medveđa usluga" (Serbocroatian)

Same in Russian: медвежья услуга (/mʲɪˈdvʲeʐjə ʊˈsluɡə/ in IPA)


yep e.g. Fucha in Polish form german Pfuscher

I remember growing up in a 2nd generation home and with many immigrant friends, people would always say "Oh there isn't a word for that in english, its very unique" and then I would tell them the word which was usually not a common word but required some vocabulary knowledge. English is also the largest with over 200k words. Not to say there isn't words like this just that it takes deep vocabulary knowledge in two languages at the same time to know.

there are a lot of words that dont map directly onto another word.

heck, i'd argue that most abstract words are just close-ish approximations, which can be used to convey the same thing, but are also useable in different contexts with significantly changed meaning.

Take yesterday's wordle for example: tangy. few languages have something that maps onto exactly this meaning. Its still easy to translate it with a sentence, but its likely going to be more than one word. And the chosen translation will likely change significantly depending on the context the word is used in.


Yup. There are words like this. My point is that there are also a lot of mistakes because you need to know both languages vocabulary to know if its true or not.

Also, a lot of the French ones, like “joie de vivre”, have been borrowed into English verbatim. “Joie de vivre” is indeed translatable into English, and the translation is just “joie de vivre”.

To claim otherwise would be like saying that the concept of chile pepper can only be expressed in Nahuatl.


Also, many expressions have direct translations (sometimes even literal) in other languages from the same family/geographic area. For example, "joie de vivre" has a direct Dutch translation "levenslust". The German words "scheinheilig" and "totschweigen" have direct Dutch equivalents "schijnheilig" and "doodzwijgen", and the Swedish words "förrgår" and "övermorgon" have direct Dutch equivalents "eergisteren" and "overmorgen".

Then there's plenty examples where a direct English equivalent exists even if it's not a literal translation of the original: nachäffen (de) = na-apen (nl) = mimicking (en), but English lacks the animal connotation (Affe == aap == ape); schwarzfahren (de) = zwartrijden (nl) = fare dodging (en), but English loses the colour in the expression (Schwarz == zwart == black).

Funny thing also that it lists the Spanish "sobremesa" as after-dinner conversation, then lists the Dutch "natafelen" as lingering after having finished dinner, continuing conversation. The two are equivalent expressions, except that one is a noun and one is a verb. Same for "fremdschämen" (de) and "vergüenza ajena" (es), which is known in Dutch as "plaatsvervangende schaamte".


> Then there's plenty examples where a direct English equivalent exists even if it's not a literal translation of the original: nachäffen (de) = na-apen (nl) = mimicking (en), but English lacks the animal connotation (Affe == aap == ape)

Even here, english has the term 'aping': https://www.google.com/search?q=define%3Aaping, with the same meaning and retains the same animal connotation.


>levenslust

I'm not sure of the origin, but "lust for life" is an expression that's been used in English for at least a century, it seems. It was the name of a biography of Vincent Van Gogh.

The earliest reference on this page seems to be a German film, so maybe it comes from German: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lust_for_Life

Hmm, maybe it goes back further - Google Books seems to have some instances from the 19th century. A few are negative, basically using the phrase to mean being worldly and not spiritual, a bad thing or even a "curse".

In that sense it wouldn't seem to be the same meaning, but maybe it changed over time.


> “Joie de vivre” is indeed translatable into English, and the translation is just “joie de vivre”.

I’m a native English speaker and I’ve never heard of the expression “Joie de vivre”, so I don’t understand how “Joie de vivre” is the English translation of “Joie de vivre”.


Yeah, it's such a cliché. Using too many foreign words is such a faux pas, it reveals the bourgeois character of the speaker. No no no, a real connoisseur of the English language won't have such a lassaiz-faire attitude and accept just any fancy word du jour. That would be so gauche indeed. Au contraire I'm blasé at such attempts. The real English entrepreneurial avant-garde clique has so many choices a la carte, so much joi de vivere in this je ne sais qua of a deja vu. Touché

"laissez-faire"* "à la carte"* "so much joi de vivre"* "je ne sais quoi"* "déjà vu"*

But well done for so densely packing French loan words (loan phrases?) into a single paragraph!


Excellent.

One funny thing I've noticed with French EFL speakers of medium proficiency is that they too think all those loanwords from French aren't English words. It's always fun to troll them dropping a en route and look at their reaction.


Haha! I followed you until you went pure French.

He never went "pure French"

Depends on your perspective I guess. I see your point that they’re all phrases in the English dictionary.

From a French perspective though it’s mixed French/English until the end which would be entirely French.


The escalation toward "pure french" was intended as an attempt to mirror https://luminusdadon.wordpress.com/2006/05/04/how-english-be...

I remember that from a long time ago. It’s fun to read the last sentence first and have it be unreadable. Then read from the beginning and it’s perfectly readable.

16 years ago.

And below, a broken banner for "Take back the Web, Get Firefox".

Complete with a link to spreadfirefox.com that seems to be broken.


Bravo.

Well, that’s unsurprising; nobody can know every expression in any language, even their native one.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/joie%20de%20vivre


Surprising to me. I’m an avid reader of books and news and movie watcher and I’ve never heard this phrase once. I also took 3 years of French, went to a 4 year college and I’ve reviewed lists of foreign phrases commonly used in English with my kids, all while somehow dodging this phrase for ~40 years!

It’s as common as je ne sais quoi or deja vu or ennui.

This one’s on you. Here’s a helpful list: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_French_expressio...


It's definitely not as common as deja vu.

I’ve heard those other ones a ton of times.

Well, I’m 50 and I’ve heard it before. Maybe you just need to live for 10 more years ;-)

https://www.ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=Joie+de+vivr...


Or maybe I needed to be born 10 years earlier :)

I've seen it once or twice in a book (and I needed to look up its meaning/translation). And it's possible Stephen Fry used it once (possibly on QI).

It's one of those weird specific words that you use to show that you're smarter than you are (this doesn't apply to Stephen Fry of course :D )


https://www.ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=Joie+de+vivr...

It has been estimated that English has more than a million words, what percentage do you think you actually know?


https://www.bbc.com/news/world-44569277

> Typically native speakers know 15,000 to 20,000 word families - or lemmas - in their first language.

Sounds about right to me.


Google claims the translation to English is "joy of living" "joie de vivre"isn't exactly a common phrase in English

In my experience, "joie de vivre" isn't really everyday vocabulary, but then I've never heard the phrase "joy of living" spoken even once. Google trends seems to bear this out: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?geo=US&q=Joie%20de%...

Or you have to untranslate them to figure out what went wrong, like "craunch the marmoset" -

https://sesquiotic.com/2016/05/02/to-craunch-the-marmoset/


Also for any expression/phrase/word there will be a set of languages into which it will easily translate, and a set of languages into which it will not.

Having checked my own language I'd describe the list not as being unable to translated outright, but of susinct ideas that are not normally expressed in English.

A literal or detailed and contextful translation does not express the same "feeling" as in the native tongue, which you could argue as a what is impossible to translate.


Also, taking the website name literally leads to a very boring time. If we define translatable as having a surjection between languages then many commenters have shown examples of even the most difficult to translate phrases explained in a blog or article.

Instead the subreddit's description[0] is a far better description, and the discussion on each phrase about possible translations or similar ideas in different languages is a lot of fun!

[0]: Post quirky and niche words/phrases from foreign languages that can't easily be translated.



Thank you.

Most of these words don't have a 1 word equivalent in English but the full range of meaning can be easily captured with a short definition.

Yiddish has good examples where words actually do not translate easily. EG, schmendrick and schmuck both translate as "a fool", but have distinct shades of meaning that aren't trivially explained. "Nu" is an interjection that has several specific meanings that require long examples to explain, EG: https://forward.com/culture/12736/just-say-nu-01335/

If you like that kind of stuff I highly recommend The Joys Of Yiddish https://www.amazon.com/Joys-Yiddish-Leo-Rosten-1968-06-23/dp...


Schickse, Schmendrick and Schmock (derived from Schmuck) are still used in German. There are probably a whole lot more that I'm not aware of.

This is actually a pretty awesome resource! It was pretty interesting to see "-ish" on there. It never occurred to me that there's likely not an exact equivalent to "-ish" in other languages.

If you click to the reddit thread for that word, people mention translations in various languages.

I saw this shared on reddit a few days ago, it's a cool idea but the actual words... there exist very few that are actually untranslateable. If you know more than one or two languages, you probably spot some of them pretty fast. (It's funny you mention specifically -ish, that's one of the words I was skeptical about and clicked through to the thread on, and thus knew that people in the thread mentioned various translations.)


I find it very strange that this HN thread is full of people taking the website name hyper literally.

The about page mentions that this is a UI for the subreddit of the same name, which is focused on "Post quirky and niche words/phrases from foreign languages that can't easily be translated."

Personally the discussion for possible translations is far more interesting than the slightly misleading subreddit and site name.


In Finnish, there is -hko/-hkö, which is essentially the same thing. For instance:

blue -> bluish => sininen -> sinisehkö

formal -> formalish => muodollinen -> muodollisehko

apparent -> apparent-ish => ilmeinen -> ilmeisehkö

compressable -> compressablish => pakkautuva -> pakkautuvahko


TIL there's no English word for "to speak among Esperantists in a language besides Esperanto", although I'm not sure one is needed either.

What if you do:

s/Esperantists/English-speakers/ and "non-English"

AFAIK, the English language is very verbose. If there are so many words, many of which have very similar meaning to others, then many of those words are not needed? Should be removed, even, until everyone forgets them and doesn't miss them at all?


> the English language is very verbose. If there are so many words, many of which have very similar meaning to others, then many of those words are not needed?

"Very similar" is not the same as "identical". Having multiple words with similar, but not identical, meanings allows you to express more detailed nuances and shades of meaning.


All human languages have redundancy, ambiguity, inconsistencies, etc. English isn’t special in this regard.

> Should be removed

Language is an emergent social phenomenon, not something anyone really controls or directs, so what “should” be done with it is a bit meaningless.


Of course. My argument was intended more of a thought exercise. Sorry about that. I should admit that I saw humour in the parent comment. But, it can be tough to tell sometimes online. Admittedly, it also depends on the reader's state of mind.

Doesn’t France have their like, organization which defines what officially valid french is?

It used to be, but nowadays the organization only claims to "observe" how the language evolves instead of deciding what’s valid and what’s not. Also, France doesn’t have the monopoly of French: 80% of French speakers are outside France; the largest French-speaking city of the world is Kinshasa, in Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In theory yes, but their decisions have virtually zero influence on real-world speech.

Should be removed by what or by whom? English doesn't have an equivalent of the Icelandic Language Institute or French Academy, and even if it did, there's no reason to believe that institution could control the development of a language that's used all over the world by so many people.

Interesting, but the premise is nonsense. Obviously these phrases and words do translate. They are translated on the page, into English.

Oh, don't be dull ;) the explanation when selecting a language:

> Concepts in Swedish That are difficult to easily and directly translate to other languages.

Of course you can explain the concept in English, but you couldn't replace it with a simple translation when used in a sentence. Of course it's just a matter of degree since most words have slightly different connotations in different languages, but I found the lists entertaining and insightful.

The quality of the entries vary, of course, but that's not an issue with the premise…


Well, everything can be explained in one way or another but the idea is that there's no direct translation to get the full meaning. My favorite is the German word schadenfreude which clearly has no direct translation into English. It means something like pleasure derived by someone from another person's misfortune. Notice how many words it takes to explain it...

I think they meant it doesn't have an exact one word equivalent.

If that’s the case they should remove all the expressions that are on the website. 5 of the 15 untranslatable Italian “words” are multi-words like “in boca al lupo” (totally translatable: “good luck”) and “rompere il cazzo” (literally “faire chier” in French).

Or they are simply giving the closest possible translation.

They list “te quiero” as meaning “I love you but not quite. Which is a mistranslation. It literally translates as “I love you”. But at the same time you have “te amo”, which also translates to “I love you” yet they are two different phrases with different meanings.


The best translation for “te quiero” is “I care about you”

The correct translation depends on the context, but I think the English expression with the most overlap is “I love you”, with the understanding that the overlap is imperfect because the English phrase can, in some but not all contexts, imply a stronger emotion than the Spanish one.

“Te quiero” is an extremely common stock phrase in Spanish, whereas nobody really says “I care about you” in English, so I think that choice of “the best translation” is unsatisfying.


Rather, it literally translates as "I want you", and is often used in the romantic sense more than "te amo". My impression is that "amor" in Spanish isn't as single-mindedly restricted to love interests as it is in English: amor/amar is used for close friends and relatives as well.

Sorry but this is completely wrong and backwards, at least in the varieties of Spanish I’ve had exposure to.

Querer is also used for non romantic relationships.

Source: direct first hand experience.


"te quiero" = "i adore you"

Not really. "I adore you" is literally "te adoro". "Querer" in Spanish just means "to love", it's a synonym to "amar", also "to love". "Querer" is more common language and applied non-romantically all the time, and "amar" is more poetic and veers more towards romantic love, but they both mean the same. BTW, "querer" means "to want", but when it is used to convey love (easy to tell by context), it doesn't ring of objectification in any way. "Quiero a mi familia" is the simplest, clearest, way to say "I love my family".

This is what I had thought. And in the way this is written, it’s clear that querer does not have a clear English translation. No English speaker would truly understand the proper meaning and context with which querer is used without knowing some Spanish.

> "Querer" is more common language and applied non-romantically all the time, and "amar" is more poetic and veers more towards romantic love, but they both mean the same.

It's interesting from the point of view of English and Russian. When we tal about people:

- In English `love` can be used for both romantic and non-romantic love.

- In Russian `love` (especially nowadays) feels to be almost exclusively either romantic or family-related (love between parent-child, between siblings etc.). You can't really tell your friend you love them :) It's weird


>You can't really tell your friend you love them

You might say in English to a friend "I love you" meaning "I'm bemused by your quirks, but I'm fond of you anyway".

I wonder how that translates.


Indeed.

When I first started dating someone who is natively bilingual in English and (Northern Mexican) Spanish, she didn’t yet feel strongly enough about me to say “I love you” in English, so she always told me “te quiero”, as there was no English phrase other than “I love you” that fit in that niche.


That’s not really my understanding of it, but I’m not perfectly bilingual either.

I can see some words on there that do have a one word equivalent, or is it that the equivalencies can't express the concept but also have other meanings as well.

I wonder if that wouldn't be the actual rare words, not just words that translate, but in which all the meanings of a word in translating language are the same as the meanings of the word in the target language.

on edit: consider Hov in Danish which the page says does not translate, but I think in English Whoa can handle all permutations of Hov, but I don't think Hov really handles the Keanu Reaves type of Whoa. Thus Hov can translate to English, but Whoa cannot translate to Danish by this kind of strict translation.

But if we just accept that the most common meaning of a word a needs to translate then Hov and Whoa can both translate to each other, IMHO.


That has never been the definition of translation.

But when people say something “doesn’t translate”, they usually mean (and are understood as meaning) one or both of two things — that it doesn’t translate succinctly, or it doesn’t translate exactly. Japanese honorifics, for example, probably fall under both.

Well, both of those things are true, and are true for any two languages. Easily and succinctly are not absolute. They are functions of the two languages being discussed, and of the two people talking. By the definitions presented here, literally nothing is translatable, you’ve just chosen to an arbitrary line.

My primary objection to this entire exercise is that it implies a linguistic preciousness that is really quite superficial. It also implies that “some languages are more cut out than others for certain purposes” and this is absolutely not the case. All languages are equally capable of meaning, and the fact that one language has one word for something and another uses many words for the same thing… that itself doesn’t “mean” anything about either language. It barely says anything about the cultures that use that language.


I don't know what I'm missing, but looking at the 53 English words I'm not seeing anything that can't be translated.

"Tall", "You're welcome". I'm sorry what?


I think that 'Fika' is an interesting one. In Spanish, or at least in Spain, 'to go for a coffee' implies the same things that 'fika' does. Nobody expects to buy coffee to drink at the office, or at home, as to talk and socialize is more important than the coffee itself.

I guess that in English speaking countries it could mean literally to go to buy a cup of coffee and hurry back with the coffee to your desk. Wouldn't 'to for a beer' have the same implications, maybe with more noise, than fika but with beer instead of coffee and cookies?


It looks to me like "fika" is just like "chilling." See, for instance, https://www.swedishfood.com/fika

I like `fika` as a term because it now means almost any type of light social get-together where there's coffee/tea and possibly (but not necessarily!) sweets.

And that it can be used as a verb and as a noun. Russian speakers in Sweden have adopted the word `fika`, and now use it as a Russian word, too :D


However, unlike "chilling", "fika" does require you to be eating/drinking something for the definition of it to apply.

Sure, you could skip it, but any swede who hears that word will know that a break like it should be combined with some kind of drink and/or snack.


Do grandparents chill together much? I am lot native english speaker so I don't know. Chilling seems like a youthful thing.

Midly related: John Koenig recently released a book called "The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows"--a continuation of the amazing homonymonous YouTube channel[1]--which contains new words he created to describe emotions. Personally, I strongly recommend it to all those that love languages and would love to explore more about themselves! Being able to put a name to some emotions is very empowering.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/user/obscuresorrows


"There's not an English word for that" comes up when discussing the flavours and smells of regional cuisines. Makes sense. Examples: "the fifth taste" (umami in Japanese or xiān in Mandarin, which sort of maps to "savoury" in English but not quite), or the "numbing spicy" effect of Sichuan peppers (málà in Mandarin).

My question: Is there an English word for the effect one experiences when consuming wasabi or horseradish?

The chemical responsible is isothiocyanate.[1] It's not capsaicin which is what makes peppers hot, so the Scoville Scale[0] doesn't apply to the pain of horseradish. BTW, sichuan peppers aren't capsaicin based either and they share something with some African spices that also chemically numb the tongue, but that's also not what's going on in horseradish or (true) wasabi.

Anyways, words in the ballpark are spicy or hot or painful or pungent but those seem a bit ambiguous. IMO, pungent doesn't satisfy because while it captures the sharp smell it seems to ignore the pain or heat of the experience. And spicy or hot in English strongly suggest the effect of peppers IMO, which can be misleading if you are describing horseradish.

Failing English, I'd love to know a Japanese or Mandarin word for this!

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scoville_scale

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isothiocyanate


>Concepts in _____ That are difficult to easily and directly translate to other languages.

Other languages, or English? Because I can definitely come up with some non-English translations to some of the words here. For example, "Haju" and "Tuoksu" in Finnish are "臭い" and "匂い" in Japanese. Swedish "mellandagarna" is also pretty much word-for-word "välipäivät" in Finnish.


Just because a word doesn't have a 1-to-1 correlation with a word in another language doesn't mean it's not translatable; in fact, this website shows that they are translatable. Even more, it's not analytically true that any word in one language shares a perfect mapping with a word in another language. This is evident when you translate a word into another language and back into the native language and find yourself with a different (albeit perhaps related) word.

W.V.O. Quine made some remarkable points about translation [1], although not all philosophers (cf. John Searle) agree that the scenarios he suggested are as problematic as he contended.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indeterminacy_of_translation


Having seen the English translations for my native tongue a lot of these translations are only surface level and quite lossy.

Even if the mapping between languages is surjective, certain ideas and phrases are difficult to translate whilst maintaining the succinctness of dialogue and are practically difficult to translate.

Considering translatability as a spectrum obviously "does not translate" is a hyperbole, and shouldn't be taken literally at face value. Hopefully you'd agree that most words on this list are at least on the difficult end of the spectrum.


Is this for words or expressions? Clicking through a few, it seems both. I'm not sure it's fair to say phrases don't translate...they just aren't used word for word. I think single words that have no single word translation in other languages is far more fascinating. Like say, Schadenfreude.

It's only a single word because the gluing together words is a national German pastime (and, more importantly, a feature of the German language). That makes the distinction of expression vs word somewhat meaningless.

Understood, but even gluing you couldn't come close in say, English. I mean, you could say HarmJoy but without a definition nobody would know what it means. I'd assume self harm. Gluing together words is a neat feature that I wish English did more often.

(Perhaps unsuprisingly) danish does have a single word translation: skadefro

And skadefryd in Norwegian.

I'd argue English has a perfectly fine translation given the right context: "glee".

E.g. He watched her fall with glee.


"Schadenfreude"'s English translation is "schadenfreude".

Or "glee". Glee is just much broader, but given the right context it's a fine synonym.

This seems problematic. "Given the right context" a lot of words could be synonyms. It seems like it's implicit in the meaning of "synonymous" that two words share the same meaning if they're interchangeable (in their respective languages) in all contexts.

Synonyms are rarely exact matches, and even more rarely exact matches without additional context.

Long and extended are synonyms when talking about length, but not family for example.


Some non-English languages are importing English words/phrases when the English one represents an idea that it's a bit more complicated to express in the non-English language. I'm not talking about technical terms.

Random example: "work/life balance"


I remember little from French class in junior high, but I do remember

   "Q: Comment ça va?
    A: Ça va."
It struck me many years later, that people at work were saying almost a literal translation in English:

   "How goes it?"
   "It goes."
To my knowledge, they weren't Francophones and I never heard any French there.

I think I've heard (and most likely used) "by the way" in otherwise completely non-English sentences.

I have seen “people of color” used (untranslated) in German magazine articles.

Was interesting reading through the Swedish part because a lot of them were easily translatable into English or just straight up sentences.

The only ones I didn't know how to translate into English could likely be translated into another language.

Would be interested to now if anyone else here knows a proper translation for:

"Orka": closest I can think of is "can't be bothered". British English does have "arsed", but it is far too informal and can't be used on its own.

"Vabba": "Skipping work to watch your kid" and as the reddit thread for it says, if it had a straight translation it would be "CoCing" which wouldn't appropriate.


I've spoken English for years, but mostly online with foreign people or when abroad myself.

But recently I started working a place here in Norway where all communication is in English. Speaking English but often in a Norwegian context, have made me sometimes grasp for these kind of words. Like "romjul" when trying to ask who is gonna be oncall this christmas. Or asking if people are going to "Syden" during their summer holidays.

Syden is not on the page, but is generally when you travel south (italy, spain, greece) to lie on a beach and drink cheap alcohol.


Syden sounds like "spring break" in the US.

The Polish word https://doesnottranslate.com/kurwido-ek/ seems like a great explanation for why some people took too long to leave, as described in the neighboring “Great Resignation” thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29937305

>Ish - a suffix that softens the exactness of an adjective.

Spanish -eico, -izo...

>Paragrafryttare. A person who follows written rules to such a degree that they're seen as rigid and inflexible.

Tiquismiquis.

>Cornuto. To have horns, meaning that you (or a particular person) has been cheated on by their spouse or significant other.

Same in Spanish, cornudo.

>A pop song released around spring that gets overplayed during the summer. Swedish By frobar Go to the reddit thread Disagree

Canción del verano.


>Paragrafryttare. A person who follows written rules to such a degree that they're seen as rigid and inflexible

Stickler seems to work in English.


"Paragraphenreiter" in German. It turns out many of these "untranslatable" words are shared across entire language families.

(I'm still not sure if a stickler is exactly the same term, because it doesn't necessarily involve rules - but "rules lawyer" works just fine for that context. And for the "but it's two words" crowd, so is Paragrafryttare. Just without a space.)


Or jobsworth.

> Paragrafryttare

This is the same in German, both in meaning and literal translation („Paragraphenreiter“).


(This was inspired by the Danish TV series Borgen)

Q: What's the Danish expression for "spin doctor"?

A: Spin doctor


I was surprised that the Turkish “huzun” was omitted. As I understand it, from reading Orhan Pamuk, for an Istanbouli it essentially means the despair of living in a city that was for more than a millennia the capital of the world and never again will achieve those heights.

You may also enjoy, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_as_She_Is_Spoke in which it translates, but not particularly well.

As of writing this, 53 Interesting Words in English That Don't Translate... "pearl-clutching" English speaker and I never heard this. If pearl-clutching counts, there's a million more words on Urban Dictionary I'm sure

That says more about you than the list. I'm guessing you must be pretty young, because "pearl-clutching" is an older term that may be used less frequently these days, though I do still see it fairly often.

pearl-clutching isn't recently made up... it has a literary history going back at least a century.

https://www.google.com/search?q=%22clutching%20her%20pearls%...


I'm not a native English speaker but pearl-clutching I've read more than once and but this is probably the first time I saw definition for it.

Pearl-clutching is an established idiom that's at least a good deal older than me. Honestly it's more likely that you haven't heard it because it's getting dated than because it's recent. Usually I hear it in the context of someone getting up in arms about something they consider immoral. Often the implication is that they're either being overly prudish or there's something hypocritical or judgemental about it. Someone might clutch their pearls at the idea that condoms can be bought at the drug store. Or they might do so at the idea that their children may be going to school with the children of those sort of people.

I've seen it used quite often by journalists. That would imply that it's relatively well known, since journalists are discouraged from using obscure words/phrases in titles.

> Brianna Keilar Hits Pearl-Clutching Republicans With A Very Long List Of Trump's Insults

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/brianna-keilar-gop-hypocrisy-...

> It’s pearl-clutching Democrats who got massacred by Trump impeachment trial: Goodwin

https://nypost.com/2020/02/08/its-pearl-clutching-democrats-...


Main one missing from Norwegian is “harry” in my view.

It means. Ehm.. not cool, specifically in a sort of crass/low brow kind of way. Like I said, hard to explain.


I'm not sure how English "tall" would be considered untranslatable/hard to translate.

Afaik there’s no exact translation for “tall” in french. There’s “grand” (big) and “haut” (high) that would be used to translate tall in different contexts

Maybe it refers to the use of tall as in "a tall story", this cannot be easily translated.

>Getting mad at somebody because they got mad at you for something you did.

Contestar in Spanish, in a second acception.


The list is not actively maintained in any way. I immediately found a rather offensive term with the description of a job title, when in reality it just being an offensive slur. Three comments mention that. The entry (from 2017) is unchanged to this day.

I don’t see the point of such a site.


As a parent, I think I may start using the word "gyakugire" regularly.

Schildbürger



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