Great foreign words we should all adopt

In English there are hundreds of words to describe hundreds of feelings, scenes and settings, but we don't always have that just right word. Sometimes you want a single term that will hit the spot.

Below are a few foreign words which do just that. Enjoy dropping these into everyday conversation...

1. Hygge

This is a wonderful Danish word and it refers to a lifestyle we should all endeavour to lead. Hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. This could mean a cup of tea by the fire on a cosy sofa with your cat if you're an ailurophile, or perhaps a feast of your favourite foods with family and friends.

2. Kummerspeck

It's not as filthy as it sounds, we swear. Kummerspeck is actually a German word for weight we gain from comfort eating. It could well be something you can refer to once you've had your fill of hygge (see above).

3. Iktsuarpok

We've all been there: your friend or partner on their way to your house and you know they're due any minute. You're so anxious about their arrival and potentially missing the doorbell ring that you keep going out to check. That's iktsuarpok. Thanks to Inuits, for this little gem.

4. Gigil

Cute aggression: it's a thing. It's that bursting feeling you get when you see a fluffy kitten sleeping or spring lamb bounding through green fields. There's so much excitement, you actually feel a little bit violent. In Filipino, this urge to pinch or squeeze something cute is called gigil.

5. L’esprit de l’escalier

In French, this literally translates to 'stairwell wit'. But it refers to that witty retort you thought of when it was too late. We've all suffered with l’esprit de l’escalier.

6. Pelinti

How there isn't a word for this in English already, we don't know. You know when you're too excited to tuck into your dinner so you dive straight in, but it's piping hot so you have to tilt your head back, breathe through it and move it around your mouth? That, my friends, is what the Ghanaians call pelinti.

7. Komorebi

This rather beautiful little word refers to the sunlight that filters through trees in Japanese.

8. Pana po’oing

This is what we do when we walk into a room then forget what we came in for. That confused, head-scratching action is called – in Hawaiian – pana po’oing.

9. Seigneur-terraces

In the age of the freelancer, we all know a few of these (and have probably been guilty of it ourselves, too). Seigneur-terraces, in French, refers to someone who sits in a coffee shop for a long time but spends little money.

10. Boketto

This action, boketto, is something we've all done – and probably quite frequently. We're glad the Japanese have given staring into the distance at nothing a name.

11. Zeg

This handy little word could save us all some breath: it's Georgian for the day after tomorrow. We wonder if that's what the movie was called over there...

12. Tsundoku

We're beginning to think the Japanese have a word for everything. This one's a term for the act of buying a book and not reading it. Come on, we've all done it...

13. Voorpret

Pre-party excitement, that's what this is. Voorpret, in Dutch, is the feeling of enjoyment before an event takes place.

15. Dépaysement

Some of us enjoy this feeling, but others dread it: dépaysement, in French, is that sense of disorientation when in a foreign country or culture.

16. Fernweh

When wanderlust doesn't cut it, use fernweh. This lovely little German term is not just the desire to travel, but the need.

17. Lagom

Not too much, not too little – lagom is just the right amount (in Swedish).

18. Utepils

For a country with so few hours of daily sunlight daily, this is something Norwegians cherish so much they made a word for it. Utepils is the act of sitting outside to enjoy a beer on a sunny day.

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