what’s the word I want?

Sometimes the English language just doesn’t have the right word…

The Japanese have “komorebi,” which means the scattered, dappled shape sunlight takes when filtered through trees.

They also have “tsundoku,” which is when you buy a book, don’t read it, and it goes into a pile of similarly unread books.

“Waldeinsamkeit” is the German way to describe the feeling of being alone in the woods.

I need a word for the exasperated sound you make when a parent asks you to do something you desperately don’t want to.

Inuits have “iktsuarpok” to describe the frustration of waiting for someone to show up.

“Utepils” is when Norwegians sit outside on a warm, sunny day and enjoy a beer.

“Culaccino” is the Italian word for the ring of condensation left behind on the table. It often happens when sitting outside on a sunny day.

I need a word for when you’ve been searching for years for a product you first heard about at work and you randomly find out your mother’s had the answer all along.

Walking on your tiptoes across hot sand is pronounced “hanyuku” by the Rukwangalis.

“Gökotta” is the Swedish word to wake up early enough and with the specific desire to go outside to hear the birds singing.

“Pochemuchka” is Russian for someone who asks too many questions (aka me during movies.)

I need a word for the shocked silence after someone asks a question and you answer differently than s/he expected.

Anything you can put on sliced bread is called “pålegg” in Swedish (and called delicious by me.)

“Sobremesa” is Spanish for the post lunch conversations had at the table.

In Indonesia, they say “jaysus” to describe an unfunny joke told so poorly people can’t help but laugh.

I need a word for when you type and delete and type and delete and type and delete words in rapid succession until you find the right combination appropriate to email your boss/coworkers.

“Tartle” is Scottish for that moment of hesitation when introducing someone because you’ve forgotten their name.

To eat past the point of being full because the food is so good can be explained with one Georgian word, “shemomedjamo.”

Trepverter” is Yiddish describing when you think of the perfect witty comeback too late.

I need a word for when you’re walking outside on a frosty evening and the smoky scent of a wood fire wafts by.

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6 Responses to “what’s the word I want?”

  1. kmmunsey Says:

    I love this post! And I need more utepils and less tsundokus in my life.

    • abby mumford Says:

      I laughed out loud when I read about tsundokus because that is so me! I’ve had to train myself to get a book from the library first and if I like it enough to re-read, I’ll buy it.

  2. Nate Says:

    Yes! Utepils is going into the regular rotation of my vacation vocabulary!

  3. Sister J Says:

    I love this list! So often I find myself lacking the exact word I need and wishing English had a word for it. If you come up with any of the words you need, let me know and I will support introducing their use! And here’s to some utepils with you on vacation this summer!

  4. abby mumford Says:

    Thanks for the support! We might have to make up words during our summer utepils…

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