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14 Untranslatable Words About Love that Will Blow Your Mind

Image source: Serge Bielanko Private
Image source: Serge Bielanko Private

Anyone who spends a fair amount of time speaking English eventually comes to realize that the language has its limits. There are a ton of words we can say in English, obviously, but when compared to a lot of other languages, it seems like there are also a ton of times when there actually are no words for exactly what we wish to say, or to express.

And never is that truer than when we talk about love.

Maybe that’s why English isn’t considered a Romance language like say, Spanish or French or Italian.

With that in mind, I thought it might be worth gathering up some words and phrases about love and romance from other languages that are completely untranslatable in our native English. Some are heart-wrenching, some hopeful, and some are just plain sexy. But whatever the meaning, I think that when you read some of these, and the power of their essence really hits you, you’re going to see and feel exactly what I’m talking about.

So here we go: 14 untranslatable words about love that will blow your mind …

1. Forelsket.

(Norwegian/Danish) The magical, wildly-intense feeling that comes over a person when they are falling in love; when love is new and seems limitless and all-encompassing. (matadornetwork.com)

2. La douleur exquise.

(French) The relentless heartbreak that comes with wanting someone you cannot have. (thoughtcatalog.com)

3. Cafuné.

(Brazilian /Portuguese) The act of gently running your fingers through another person’s hair. (bigthink.com)

4. Cavoli riscaldati.

(Italian) In reality, this term means “reheated cabbage.” But the Italians also know it to mean times when you attempt to rekindle an old love affair or a once-broken relationship. (thoughtcatalog.com)

5. Gigil

(Filipino) Strong desire to pinch someone you find irresistibly cute. (rd.com)

6. Wabi-sabi.

(Japanese) The art of finding beauty in the flaws and imperfections of life and people and the world around us. (davinahamilton.com)

7. Dor.

(Romanian) Describes a deep longing you have for a loved one, a longing that results in the need to sing sad songs. (betterthanenglish.com)

8. Koi No Yokan.

(Japanese) -The feeling when you first meet another person and sense that the two of you will eventually fall into love. (bigthink.com)

9. Kummerspeck.

(German) Weight gained from emotional eating, often the result of heartbreak. (deathandtaxesmag.com)

10. Razbliuto.

(Russian) The nostalgic sentiment you feel towards a person you once loved, but no longer care for. (matadornetwork.com)

11. Oeillades.

(French) A term for the sly, secretive glances often exchanged by lovers. (cultureeveryday.com)

12. Iktsuarpok.

(Inuit) The frustrating sense that comes with waiting for someone to show up. (buzzfeed.com)

13. Kilig.

(Tagalog) The feeling of butterflies in your stomach. (tagaloglang.com)

14. Mamihlapinatapei.

(Yagan) A look shared between two people who desire to start something but are too reluctant to do it.

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