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Lost in translation: 4 perfect words that have no English equivalent


Who would notadore “soubhiyé” from time to time?

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Who would notadore “soubhiyé” from time to time?

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Sometimes they call an attribute. Or a moment. Or maybe alone a vibe.

These are the words from added languages which don’t have a absolute agnate in English, and yet backpack so abundant meaning.

The Merriam-Webster concordance set out lately to collect anytime of these words on Twitter, and was once abounding with responses from humans alms their own.

Everything from “jugaad” in India (a adjustable access to analytic which uses constrained resources) to “tsujigiri” in Japan (trying out your newly-acquired brand by decapitating a accidental passerby) was once put forward.

So we asked four humans to acquaint us further about their admired non-English words, and how they alone try to construe them.

Non-native English Speakers, what’s a chat from your accent which you anticipate is absolute which doesn’t have an English equivalent?

Take us to church.

— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) February 28, 2023


Submitted by Julie Cafley — Ottawa, Canada

Débrouillard, if you actually construe it, way somebody who removes the fog. The abutting affair in English would be the concept of somebody who is resourceful, who’s creative, abstracts a way by the fog or by the abashing and alone gained to results, is efficient. It’s a affection which I adulation in people, and it’s anything which I’m agilely trying to say in English. And frankly, the chat would notexist.


Submitted by Rafa Martínez-Avial — San Francisco, California

Estrenar is a Spanish chat which … could intend to aurora anything in, about it would nothave to be anything you wear. So it could be a new car, a new brace of shoes, or alike a new accomplice which you’re bringing to a affair or a amusing acquisition with you for the first time. In accepted although , there isn’t a accepted translation, which is funny because I really-feel like generally I have this botheration in the adverse administration area English has so many words which sometimes it’s alone actual adamantine to locate a Spanish chat which conveys the aforementioned dash or the aforementioned connotations which an English word.

Haa shagóon

Submitted by Kyle Wark (Tlingit names are X’ulteen and L’aakaw Éesh) — Anchorage, Alaska.

It way our ancestors. But because the Tlingit believe in reincarnation, it’s also our birth — the ancestors who will appear alternate to us. But it also way a lot further than that, too. It way the history of our ancestors codification in places, stories, songs, names, art, customs, etcetera which adviser our lives. The concept of haa shagóon is also associated to haa kusteeyix, which way our way of activity or our culture.


Submitted by Stephanie Thompson — San Diego, California.

In Lebanese Arabic … soubhiyé refers to which aeon of time in the morning while no one abroad is alive about you, and you can either have anytime quiet time to yourself afore the domiciliary is awake, or you can allure a acquaintance or acquaintance to accompany you for coffee and tea and you have anytime catch-up time calm afore the day get started. My mother generally acclimated to have a soubhiyé by herself or with one of my aunts or friends. And now which I am a mom of two myself and I don’t beddy-bye in anymore, I really price which time while you can alone collect your although ts and have which moment to yourself.

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