20 Languages That Have the Most Unique Words

Does Not Translate is the internet’s biggest searchable database of words that are unique to each language.

Because of this, we are able to calculate a ranking of which languages have the most untranslatable concepts and terms. Here they are.

German

The German language is notorious for long words, and many of those words are completely untranslatable into English.

Some examples include:

Weltschmerz (noun) – a deep, fundamental feeling of melancholy and world-weariness

Torschlusspanik (noun) – the fear that time is running out to do things or meet people.

We have counted over 150 more words, such as:

Sehnsucht -The inconsolable longing in the human heart for we know not what.

Lebenslüge – Life lie A lie you tell yourself to make your life bearable.

Swedish

A close cousin of German, Swedish also has a huge number of unique words, many portmanteaus (blends of words).

Some examples include:

Dagsverke (noun) – a day’s work, especially hard physical labor

Klappjakt (noun) – hunting by clapping your hands to make animals come out of hiding

English

Our dear English ranks third, with over 50 unique terms we have spotted so far. Words like:

Catch-22 – A paradoxical situation with contradictory requirements.

Or:

Rickrolling – Tricking people into listening to Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up instead of the content that they expected to see.

Spanish

The fourth language on our list is Spanish. Even though it may seem that this language doesn’t have as many unique words as the previous three,

it still has some interesting ones. For example:

Payar – to pay for someone else’s mistake

Pijo – a person who is born into a wealthy family and has a privileged upbringing

There are many more words like these, over 40 that we have spotted.

Chinese

The fifth language on this list is Chinese. Even though it has a writing system that is completely different from all the others,

it still has plenty of words that can’t be translated to other languages. Here are some examples:

Bàifēngmiàn – white rice noodles

Chīhuǒshā – edible candle

Dàhǎi – big sea

Japanese

Japanese is another language with a writing system that is completely different from the rest.

It also has a lot of words that can’t be translated to other languages. Here are some examples:

Ikigai – a reason for being

Komorebi – sunlight filtering through trees

Yūgen – an awareness of

French

Even though French is a Romance language, it still has plenty of words that can’t be translated to other languages.

Here are some examples:

Dépaysement – the feeling of not being in one’s home country

Gobe-mouches – people who listen in on other people’s

Hebrew

Hebrew is another language with a writing system that is completely different from the rest.

It also has a lot of words that can’t be translated to other languages. Here are some examples:

Kvetch – to complain

Mensch – a good person

Schlep – to carry or drag something heavy

Finnish

Finnish is another language with a writing system that is completely different from the rest.

It also has a lot of words that can’t be translated to other languages. Here are some examples:

Kalsarikännit – drinking at home in your underwear

Lempi – love, affection

Russian

The language of Nabokov and Tolstoy has plenty of words that don’t have a direct English translation.

Here are some examples:

Bychit – to overstay one’s welcome

Pochemuchka – a person who asks a lot of questions

Toska – a feeling of great sadness and anguish

Dutch

The language of van Gogh and Rembrandt has plenty of words that don’t have a direct English translation.

Here are some examples:

Gezellig – cozy, charming, convivial

Kleptomania – the urge to steal (!)

Polish

Another European language with many exclusive words is Polish.

Here are some examples of words that don’t have a translation in other languages:

Kurwidołek·A toxic place comfrtable enough to stay, but not bad enough to leave.

Poprawiny·The party you have the day after a wedding reception to finish off all the food and drink.

Arabic

The language famous for its poetry has plenty of words that don’t have a direct English translation.

Here are some examples:

Samar – Night conversations with friends or family.

ġibṭah – the feeling you have when you wish to have what someone else has without being envious.

Norwegian

Norwegian has a lot of words that are specific to the country and its culture.

Here are some examples:

Friluftsliv – the philosophy of enjoying the great outdoors

Hytte – a small, simple cabin in the mountains

Hindi

Hindi is another language with a writing system that is completely different from the rest.

It also has a lot of words that can’t be translated to other languages. Here are some examples:

Jugaad – A frugal yet creative and highly effective solution to a problem that everyone is solving with the usual scripted and expensive way.

Doodh Pilana – To drink someone’s milkshake

Italian

There is more than gorgeous scenery and delicious food to Italian culture – so many interesting and unique concepts. Examples include:

Benaltrismo – The strategy of dodging or ignoring a problem by pointing that there are others, more compelling problems to solve.

Squillo – To call someone on the phone long enough for it to ring so they know it’s you, then hanging up.

Turkish

Turkish has many words that are unique to the language and culture.

Here are some examples:

Kucaklaşma – the act of hugging

Ayrılık çiçeği – “the flower of separation”, a red carnation that is given to someone who is leaving

Korean

You might have caught how beautiful the Korean language sounds by watching Parasite or Squid Game. It’s also very rich in interesting concepts. Here are some examples:

han (한)·An emotional state of sadness and hope, said to be characteristic of Korean culture; a feeling of unresolved resentment against injustices suffered, a sense of helplessness because of the overwhelming odds against one, and an obstinate urge to take revenge and to right the wrong.

산책 (san-chaek) – a walk in nature, usually taken for leisure or exercise

Cebuano

Cebuano is a language spoken in the Philippines. It has many words that are unique to the language and culture.

Here are some examples:

Tanday – the pillow you leg hug when you sleep (who didn’t need a word for that!).

Lahap – To peel thickly and wastefully.

Hungarian

Hungarian is a language spoken in Central Europe. It has many words that are unique to the language and culture.

Here are some examples:

Csömör – A person who falls asleep while reading or watching TV.

Különös – Something that is odd or strange.

That’s all for now! I hope you enjoyed this list of interesting words from different languages.

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