Kummerspeck, in German, refers to “grief bacon,” a word for the weight gained from overeating while upset—think post-breakup tub of ice cream and Sleepless in Seattle. Sahat, in Tunisian, means to get drunk by sniffing shoe polish. Even in American English we have oddly specific, inane words like defenestration, the act of throwing someone or something out the window.
But travel evokes emotions and experiences at times incapable to describe. It could be the complete feeling of solitude while hiking alone in a forest (the Germans have a word for it). It could also be a word for the continued eating even after you’re completely full (Georgians use it).Or it could even be a word to describe the oompa loompa look maintained by many beachgoers (Grazie, Italy).
In the same way “wanderlust” infiltrated the English language, here are 23 foreign words related to travel with no translation to English.
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1. Hygge (Danish)
The feeling and atmosphere that arises when you get comfy in the company of others. The word extends beyond “coziness” and goes so far as to illuminate the Danish soul.
2. Dépaysement (French)
The feeling that comes of being a foreigner… especially a foreigner in Paris where the “foreignness” seems amplified.
3. Fernweh (German)
The opposite of homesickness. It means a yearning to go to a faraway place. It’s a feeling that may compel you to buy a plane ticket in the first place.
4. Vukojebina (Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian)
A place in the middle of nowhere.
5. Lehitkalev (Hebrew)
Literally “to dog it.” To put up with a lower standard of uncomfortable conditions of living or travel—like when a hotel mistakenly gives you a twin-size bed in a room with no curtains.
6. Vitutus (Finnish)
Pretty much the word for “I can’t even.” An emotion of extreme frustration, a mute, helpless rage in which you’re simmering.
7. Døgne (Norwegian)
To stay awake for 24 hours. It’s kind of a general term for all-nighter, without the intentionality. But the word probably fits into any storyline featuring “missed connection.”
8. Trúnó (Icelandic)
The act of getting into a very private, confessional conversation with someone, usually accompanied by alcohol. You’ll likely find these at the Marriott bar between a lonely businessman and the bartender or any whiskey tavern, around closing time, filled with those who “struck out” for the night.
9. Mamihlapinatapai (Yaghan)
The scenario when two people are looking at each other, each wishing the other would initiate an action both desire but are unwilling to begin themselves. The word might encompass feeling you get every time you’re handed a dessert menu.
10. Utepils (Norwegian)
A beer you drink outside. Let’s hope there’s also a word for the crack and fizz when you pop open your first utepils on a summer day.
11. Shemomedjamo (Georgian)
You know that feeling of extreme fullness, but, because your meal’s so delicious, you can’t stop devouring it? The Georgians understand this with a word that pretty much means “Oh, I’m so full. I couldn’t possibly eat another bite,” while spooning more onto your plate.
12. Matvandur (Icelandic)
A picky eater. Like refusing to eat rotten, fermented shark in Iceland.
13. Kaapshljmurslis (Latvian)
A person who is cramped while riding public transportation. Maybe more accurately, a word for anyone who takes public transit.
14. Scheißfreundlich (German)
Fake overly friendly. Just a common stereotype of Americans.
15. Tartle (Scottish)
The word used to describe the awkward situation when you forget someone’s name when introducing them.
16. Huuhaa (Finnish)
Unfounded or unscientific claims and beliefs used to scam people. These tactics are used in just about every bazaar, high-traffic tourist area all over the world.
17. Hanyauku (Rukwangali)
The act of walking on tiptoes across warm sand. Oh, it hurts so good.
18. Waldeinsamkeit (German)
The feeling of solitude in a forest. Of course the Germans have a word for this.
19. Boketto (Japanese)
The act of gazing vacantly into the distance.
20. Yahourt (French)
A foreign song you sing despite not speaking the language, instead just imitating the sounds. Finally, a word that explains our attempt to sing “99 Luftballoons.”
21. Slampadato (Italian)
Someone addicted to using tanning beds. This is a great word for people-watching at the beach.
22. Dustsceawung (Old English)
Reflection upon former civilizations or peoples, or the knowledge that all things will become dust. The feeling in pretty much any Mayan museum.
23. Missmyörsriesa (Elfdalian)
Quite possibly the most specific words for a specific journey imaginable, this word means “whey butter trip.” An unnecessary journey made in vain just to for example buy whey butter. Quite possibly the most specific words for a specific journey imaginable.