At Our World English, we have students from around the world who all come to us to learn or improve their English. Every language has its own quirks, history, and culture surrounding it, so while you may develop a rich vocabulary in English, some words will always remain untranslatable. Here are some of our favourite untranslatable words that students have told us over the years.
Toska – Russian
A mixture of pining, restlessness, yearning, nostalgia, melancholy, and depression.
Jaysus – Indonesian
An unfunny joke that’s told so badly that you actually laugh.
Kyoikumama – Japanese
A mother who pushes her children to achieve academically.
Tartle – Scottish
The hesitation before introducing someone when you’ve forgotten their name.
Prozvonit – Czech
Ringing somebody’s phone once so that they call you back.
L’appel du vide – French
Literally ‘the call of the void’ or the sudden desire to jump when you’re standing high up.
Mångata – Spanish
The trail created by the moon’s reflection on water.
Kilig – Tagalog
The feeling of butterflies in your stomach specifically associated with romance.
Hiraeth – Welsh
The feeling of homesickness combined with grief and sadness for your homeland or a romanticised past. The object of your hiraeth isn’t attainable or perhaps never existed at all.
Flâner – French
Aimlessly wandering without any destination, just to enjoy the views.
Merak – Serbian
The feeling you get from simple pleasures that adds up to a sense of happiness and fulfilment.
L’abbioccio – Italian
The groggy, sleepy, happy feeling after a large meal.
Gluggaveður – Icelandic
Weather that looks beautiful but is unpleasant to be in.
Saudade – Portugese
Much like hiraeth, this is the longing for something beautiful that’s now gone.
L’esprit d’escalier – French
Literally ‘the spirit of the stairs’ this is when you think of the perfect come back or retort after the conversation has happened.
Dustsceawung – Old English
The thought that dust used to be other things, and realisation that everything will ultimately end up as dust.
Mokita – Kivila
A painful fact that everybody knows but does not mention to avoid causing more pain or embarrassment.
Friolero – Spanish
Somebody who is very sensitive to the cold.
Verschlimmbessern – German
Accidentally making things worse when trying to mend or improve it.
Gökotta – Swedish
Waking up early to hear the first birds sing.
Fernweh – German
The feeling of homesickness for a place that you’ve never been to.
Pochemuchka – Russian
A person who asks too many questions.
Tsundoku – Japanese
Buying a book and leaving it unread, usually surrounded by a lot of other unread books.
Rire dans sa barbe – French
Literally ‘laughing into your beard’ – laughing to yourself at something that happened in the past.
Komorebi – Japanese
Sunlight that filters between the leaves on a tree.
Utepils – Norwegian
Sitting outside on a sunny day and enjoying a beer.
Culacinno – Italian
The ring left on a table from a moist glass.
Won – Korean
Reluctance to let go of an illusion.
Our centres are based in impressive schools, surrounded by beautiful countryside. They are located in London and the South East of England.
Our range of courses embrace a combination of learning with leisure, so that each student has a memorable experience.
If you have questions about any of our courses, please fill out our course enquiry form with your queries.
Our centres are conveniently located so that both educational and personal trips are trouble-free. We also boast outstanding sports facilities.
The aim of the course is to improve English comprehension skills, along with grammar and pronunciation.
Now in its 13th year, Global Young Leaders is a premium debate and communication course for students aged 13 to 17.
This course offers boys and girls aged 8-17 the opportunity to develop their theatrical skills in Drama and Dance.
These courses, run in association with Chelsea FC Foundation, are open to boys aged 8-17.
This course is open to 14-17 year olds with a minimum of level of B2 English.
Advanced GYL is designed to equip students with the skills required for entry
into top universities
These courses provide a combination of tennis coaching, English classes and a programme of social activities.
Our Intensive Academic Programme course is aimed at students wishing to sharpen their academic abilities.
This course is aimed at pupils aged 8-14, including native speakers.
Foundation GYL is an introduction to debating, open to students aged 11-13.