top of page

10 Untranslatable Feelings

In most Western countries, Saint Valentine’s day is celebrated on February 14th. In honor of this popular celebration, we will see how feelings are expressed in different languages.

Cwtch (Welsh)

A Cwtch is more than a hug, it is the feeling of safety we get from being in the arms of the person we love. Anybody can give us a hug, but only true love can give us a cwtch.

Ya’aburnee (Arabic)

This word literally means “bury me.” But in spite of how dark it may seem, it refers to the desire to die before the loved one, since it would be very difficult to continue living without him or her.

Mamihlapinatapei (Yaghan)

The Yaghan people are one of the indigenous peoples of the Southern Cone in South America. It is the look of desire shared by two people who want to start something, but who do not have the courage to take the first step.

Forelsket (Norwegian)

Forelsket describes the euphoria you feel when you fall in love. The English equivalent, New Relationship Energy or NRE sounds rather dry. The Norwegian word has a more romantic meaning.

Odnoliub (Russian)

This word is used to refer to people who have only one love in their life.

Onsra (Bodo)

The Bodo are an ethnic and linguistic aboriginal group of the Brahmaputra valley in the northeast part of India. This term is used to describe the bittersweet feeling we experience when we know that love will not last.

Manabamáte (Rapa Nui)

The Rapa Nui are the aboriginal Polynesian inhabitants of Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean. It is the lack of appetite that we feel when we fall in love.

Oodal (Tamil)

The Tamil trace their ancestry to the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the Indian Union territory of Puducherry, or the Northern, Eastern Province and Puttalam District of Sri Lanka. Oodal describes the angry facade lovers put up after a fight. Actually, they are not angry, but pride does not allow them to give in to the other person.

Flechazo (Spanish)

Spanish speakers use this word, meaning, “arrow strike,” to refer to love at first sight. The RAE defines it as, “love felt or inspired suddenly.”

Cafuné (Brazilian Portuguese)

Cafuné is the act of running your fingers through the hair of someone you love.

It's interesting to see how, in each language and in each culture, different words are used to express the feelings we all know and experience at some time, but many times we don't know how to express.

In the context of one’s love life, knowing the right expressions for feelings is extremely important. Imagine how much more important it is to know the right expressions in a formal context, especially when writing! Luckily, you can always count on professional translators and interpreters, who have the necessary tools to use the right expressions every time.

bottom of page