20 Untranslatable Words

Here is a compilation of interesting words that are untranslatable to English.  They are taken directly from: betterthanenglish.com, matadornetwork.com, and blog.maptia.com.


1. Toska (Russian)

Vladmir Nabokov describes it best: “No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody or something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom.”


2. Attaccabottoni (Italian)

A boring person who corners people and tells long, sad tales.


3. Jayus (Indonesian)

“A joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh.” (Altalang.com)


4. Iktsuarpok (Inuit)

“To go outside to check if anyone is coming.” (Altalang.com)


5. Resfeber (Swedish)

 To be jittery before undertaking a journey.


6. Kyoikumama (Japanese)

“A mother who relentlessly pushes her children toward academic achievement.”


7. Tartle (Scottish)

The act of hestitating while introducing someone because you’ve forgotten their name. (Altalang.com)

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What I’ve Learned

Esquire magazine has conducted more than 300 interviews with artists, athletes, celebrities, entrepreneurs, musicians, politicians, scientists and writers. They have since published a series of articles called What I’ve Learned, which are comprised of interesting quotes these people say. They have also published a “Meaning of Life” issue which included more in-depth interviews.

Here are some of my favourite lines:


You don’t accidentally become an asshole. It takes a bit of work.
-Ozzy Osbourne

Depression is a luxury I still can’t afford. 
-50 Cent

Natural beauty takes at least two hours in front of a mirror.
-Pamela Anderson

My definition of peace is having no noise in my head.
-Eric Clapton

No matter what you do or where you are, you’re going to be missing out on something.
-Alan Arkin

My life is so bizarre, it’s just easier to be honest.
-David Blaine

You have to view things in the context of your life expectancy.
-Francis Ford Coppola

I don’t think anybody’s necessarily ready for death. You can only hope that when it approaches, you feel like you’ve said what you wanted to say. Nobody wants to go out in mid-sentence.
-Johnny Depp

Nobody knows what anticipation is anymore. Everything is so immediate. No more standing outside Tower Records in a long line.
-Joan Jett

To me, success is simply the opposite of failure.
-Dwight Shrute

I’ve never felt like I had very much to say. Maybe that’ll come later in life.
-Chloe Sevigny

They say that the human smile is in fact one of those primordial things — that in fact it’s a showing of teeth, that it’s a warning. That when we smile, in a primeval way it has to do with fear.
-Christopher Walken

People don’t know the real you unless you tell them.
-Vanna White

Courage is a mindless thing. People say, “Wow! How could you do that?” And you say, “How could I not do that?”
-Neil Young

The remote has saved my sanity.
-Fred Willard

I’ve never been disappointed, because I’ve never given somebody I liked that much power.
-Albert Brooks

Smoke like a chimney, work like a horse, eat without thinking, go for a walk only in really pleasant company.
-Albert Einstein

You practice and you get better. It’s very simple.
-Philip Glass

A big part of life is realizing what you’re good at.
-Alyssa Milano

Children teach you that you can still be humbled by life, that you learn something new all the time. That’s the secret to life, really — never stop learning. It’s the secret to career. I’m still working because I learn something new all the time. It’s the secret to relationships. Never think you’ve got it all.
– Clint Eastwood

A friend is someone who will tell you when you’re bullshitting, when you’ve overstepped a mark, or when you’re being an idiot.

The measure of achievement is not winning awards. It’s doing something that you appreciate, something you believe is worthwhile. I think of my strawberry souffle. I did that at least twenty-eight times before I finally conquered it.
-Julia Child

In the end, winning is sleeping better.
-Jodie Foster

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