Saturday, January 19, 2013

Winning Words


There are so many champion words in the English language, ones that are a delight to say: tithe, dragoon, splay... 

And so many words in other languages, ones I don't know how to pronounce, that have something fun to say...

Shemomedjamo (Georgian)

To accidentally eat the whole thing.

Pelinti (Buli, Ghana)

To move hot food around in your mouth.

Rhwe (Tsonga, South Africa)

To pass out on the floor, drunk and naked.

Tartle (Scots)

The hesitation just before you have to introduce someone whose name you don't remember.

Koi No Yokan (Japanese)

The sense upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going to fall in love.

Cafune (Brazilian Portuguese)

To tenderly run your fingers through someone's hair.

Kaelling (Danish)

A parent who curses at their children in public.

Age-otori (Japanese)
To look worse after a haircut.

Backpfeifengesicht (German)
A face badly in need of a fist.

Duende (Spanish)
A climactic show of spirit in a performance or work of art.

Gigil (Filipino)
The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is unbearably cute.

Ilunga (Tshiluba, Congo)
A person who will forgive any abuse the first time, tolerate it a second time, but never a third time.

L’esprit de l’escalier (French)
Thinking of a clever comeback when it is too late to deliver it.

Mamihlapinatapai (Yaghan)
A look between two people that suggests an unspoken, shared desire.

Meraki (Greek)
Doing something with soul, creativity, or love-- putting something of yourself into what you’re doing.

Nunchi (Korean)
The art of listening and correctly gauging another’s mood. 

Pena ajena (Mexican Spanish)
The embarrassment you feel watching someone else’s humiliation.

Schadenfreude (German)
The pleasure derived from someone else’s pain.

Tingo (Pascuense, Easter Island)
To borrow objects one by one from a neighbor’s house until there is nothing left.

Waldeinsamkeit (German)
The feeling of being alone in the woods.

Yoko meshi (Japanese)
The stress particular to speaking a foreign language.


  1. I always liked the word bulb because of the way it forms in your mouth. And I just saw an interesting statement about the word up. Here it is:

    It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP ?
    At a meeting, why does a topic come UP?
    Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?
    We call UP our friends.
    And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warm UP the leftovers and cleanUP the kitchen.
    We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.
    At other times the little word has real special meaning.
    People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.
    To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.
    A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.
    We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.

    We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!
    To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary.
    In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.
    If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used.
    It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more
    When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP.
    When the sun comes out we say it is clearingUP.
    When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP.
    When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP.

    One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP,
    for now my time is UP, is time to shut UP!

  2. karoshi (japanese): death by overwork