It’s a lovely Friday afternoon, and the weather is the epitome of what May should be: brightly but gently sunny, with a few fluffy white clouds strategically positioned in the sky and smells of all kinds of flowers hanging around as you walk. It really is the time to fall in love –with people, life, nature and everything that is lovable!
As I was sifting through my browser bookmarks, looking at what I have liked in the past few weeks, I ran into “25 romantic words that don’t exist in English but should”. My synapses made the connection between the weather and what I was reading, and I decided that I had to share –both because it’s affectionate, but also because it’s funny!
So, here you are:
- Mamihlapinatapai (Yaghan, Tierra del Fuego) – This term, which holds the Guinness World Record for “most succinct word,” means “looking at each other hoping that either will offer to do something which both parties desire but are unwilling to do.”
- Saudade (Portuguese) – A melancholic nostalgia for someone or something from the past. Mind you, I knew that one because of Cesaria Evora’s song.
- Tuqburni (Arabic) – The literal translation is “You bury me,” referring to a love so deep you can’t imagine living life without your partner.
- Bakku-shan (Japanese) – A girl who’s only attractive when she’s viewed from behind. Oh those Japanese; funny and offensive!
- Forelsket (Norwegian) – That intoxicatingly euphoric feeling you experience when you’re first falling in love.
- Cafuné (Portuguese) – The act of running your fingers through your lover’s hair. I had never expected that there could be such a word, but the Portuguese must have an intimate knowledge of romance!
- Paasa (Tagalog) – “A person who leads someone on (intentionally or not). Appearing as if they are genuinely interested romantically when they aren’t.” Oh, how I could have used this word when I was younger…
- Kummerspeck (German) – Literally translating to “grief bacon,” this delightful word refers to the less-than-delightful excess weight you gain from emotional overeating. A Bridget Jones kind of territory, then.
- Onsra (Boro language of India) – That bittersweet feeling of loving for the last time — in other words, that feeling you get when you know a love won’t last. Very poignant!
- Gretchenfrage (German) – A leading question, asked for the purpose of finding out someone’s real intentions. First dates are overflowing with Gretchenfrages.
- La douleur exquise (French) – The excruciating pain that comes from wanting someone you can’t have. How French!
- Queesting (Dutch) – A whole verb dedicated to inviting a lover into your bed – not for what you think, but for some pillow talk. Weren’t the Puritans Dutch? Explains a lot, I guess…
- Oodal (Tamil) – The fake-sulking you do after getting into a lovers’ tiff, usually over something inconsequential.
- Kilig (Tagalog) – The stupid-silly rush you feel immediately after something good happens, leaving you giggling like a schoolgirl (say, after accidentally bumping into your crush.)
- Cavoli riscaldati (Italian) – When you attempt to restart a failed relationship or love affair. Literally, ‘reheated cabbage.’ And we all know that reheated cabbage is not that good!
- Buksvåger (Swedish) – What you call someone who has had sex with someone you’ve already had sex with. Are the Swedes the opposite of the Dutch?
- Koi no yokan (Japanese) – It’s not quite love at first sight, but koi no yokan is nevertheless the feeling you get upon meeting someone that you will love, in time.
- Gigil (Tagalog) – That indescribable, irresistible urge to grab or pinch something or someone super-adorable. Like a baby, or a puppy.
- Iktsuarpok (Inuit) – The anticipation you feel when you’re waiting for a loved one to show up at your house.
- Voorpret (Dutch) – That feeling of excitement you get even before an event actually takes place. Literally translates to “pre-fun.”
- Retrouvailles (French) – Retrouvailles, or “rediscovery,” refers to the happiness you feel upon reuniting with someone after you’ve been apart for a long time.
- Razbliuto (Russian) – The (usually sentimental) feeling you have toward someone you used to loved but no longer do.
- Viraag (Hindi) – The emotional pain of being separated from a loved one.
- Fensterln (German) – When you have to climb through someone’s window in order to have sex with them without their parents knowing about it. How often does that happen in Germany, anyway? Next time I’m there, I’ll be on the lookout for teenagers jumping out of windows.
- Layogenic (Tagalog) – When someone looks attractive from far away, but, oh, they’re getting closer, erm, never mind.
So, if some of you are writing romance, perhaps you should consider including some of these words into your manuscripts. You will both make people laugh and show off the extent of your knowledge in terms of romance and the multitude of words that exist out there!
Don’t forget to read the next post in the series, Crapulence and Forgotten English: the Words we Ought to Bring Back!