15 awesomely untranslatable words, along with conversations for context.
German for “weary of life”
John: I’ve been rather lebensmüde these days. I don’t know what’s wrong.
Johnny: It’s those German lessons you’re taking.
(Luckily the word contains a smiley (umlaut) to cheer you up.)
Greek for “a group of friends that get together to enjoy nothing else but sharing their life experiences, philosophies, values, and ideas”
John: I’m done with going out every weekend. It empties my soul.
Johnny: Let’s get the parea back together! Steve said the same yesterday.
Japanese for “a solution to a common problem that’s pretty useless otherwise”
John: Dude, let’s prank Carlos. He left his laptop open! What should we do?
Johnny: Let’s change all his browsers to Internet Explorer!
John: That’s one genius chindogu, Johnny!
Swedish for “somebody reluctant to go into a body of water while swimming outdoors”
Johnny: Hurry up, badkruka!
John: I’ll take my time. It’s way too cold for me.
Johnny: Only Scandinavians are allowed to be badkrukas. YOU’RE GOING IN NOW!
Mexican Spanish for “a hellish, imaginary, faraway place where you send all those who annoy you”
John: Hey, I asked the old guy drinking mezcal. He told me we should definitely visit this place called “la chingada.”
Johnny: Do you even know what that means, John?
John: Not really. It seems to be an off-the-beaten-path sort of place, since it’s not in my guidebook. Hey, look! He just sent that American couple there too!
Russian for “two or more days of drunkenness usually involving a journey or waking up in an unexpected place”
Johnny: What did you think of that restaurant?
John: It was all delicious! How did you even find it?
Johnny: Well, I woke up in their dumpster after last week’s epic zapoi, and the food still tasted pretty good, so I figured!
German for “tangled up cables,” literally “cable-salad”
John: Apparently every single time I put earphones in my pocket, even if it’s just five minutes, they come out impossibly tangled.
Johnny: Yeah, man it’s your pocket chef preparing you his signature kabelsalat.
Japanese for “a reason to get up in the morning, a reason to live”
John: Isn’t this just the best guacamole ever?
Johnny: Ahh, fresh avocados, my ikigai.
Danish for “work happiness, the feeling of happiness provoked by a satisfying job”
John: I heard you closed the deal! Congratulations!
Johnny: Thanks! They told me I can go on vacation now, but who needs it with such arbejdsglæde. My job is my vacation!
German for “sweet, elderly, and senile woman”
John: Your mom is so tüddelig! Last night when you left…
Johnny: HEY, stop right there, man. What does that mean?
Japanese for “a man who pretends to be a woman on the internet”
John: Haha, check this out! My friend George is trolling people as a nekama, and he’s fooling this one guy into a date.
Johnny: Ahahah, what a fool!
Brazilian Portuguese for “the act of running your fingers through someone’s hair in a loving way”
John: What happened to that girl Gina? Didn’t you have your first date last night?
Johnny: We did, but as I proceeded to cafuné at the movies her wig came off. Turns out he was a nekama named George, so we aren’t seeing each other anymore. Wait, who was that friend of yours?
Arabic for “you bury me,” meaning one would rather die before the other because the first person wouldn’t be able to live without the second
John: I saw we ran out of food, so I got us chocolate.
Dutch for “going out for a walk or to the countryside in order to clear one’s mind”
John: I’m sick of the city. If I have to smell the subway one more time…
Johnny:You should take a break. The city’s great — you just overdosed.
John: Yeah, could be. I guess I should go uitwaaien this weekend.
15. Bababa ba?
Filipino for “is it going down?”
Choir of rushing New Yorkers: Bababa ba?
Person inside elevator: *awkwardly closes doors with a blank stare*