15 words from foreign languages that English should adopt

1. Kummerspeck from German

The weight that you gain from emotional eating or overeating.

2. Mamihlapinatapai from Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuego

That special look or moment shared between two people. This word refers to a mutual feeling for each other to do something that they both want, but neither want to do.

3. Shemomedjamo from Georgian

When your meal is so tasty that you just can’t stop eating, even though you are stuffed. This word might be best applied to your Christmas feast!

4. Backpfeifengesicht from German

This word refers to someone whose face you want to introduce to your fist.

5. Iktsuarpok from Inuit

This doesn’t refer to any supernatural situation but rather to when you’re anticipating someone to arrive so you keep going outside to check if they’ve arrived!

6. Greng-jai from Thai

This word refers to that reluctant feeling you have when you don’t want someone to do something for you because it would be a pain for them.

7. Mencolek from Indonesian

Probably more applicable to kids, this word refers to tapping someone on the opposite shoulder from behind as a prank.

8. Gigil from Filipino (this is different from Tagalog)

We get this every time we see a cute child. It refers to the irresistible urge to pinch or squeeze something or someone that is adorable.

9. Layogenic from Tagalog

This word isn’t a very nice descriptive word, but it basically refers to someone who is better looking from afar.

10. Bakku-shan from Japanese

Similar to #9, this Japanese slang refers to a woman who is only attractive from behind.

11. Seigneur-terraces from French

This term is the bane of all servers as it refers to people who spend hours at cafes and only buy one drink.

12. Ya’arburnee from Arabic

This word is a rather bittersweet feeling referring to the hope that you will die before someone you love deeply. Literally asking the person to bury you, this word essentially means that you cannot bear to live without the other person.

13. Koi No Yokan from Japanese

In the same vein of #12, this word refers to falling in love at first sight.

14. Boketto from Japanese

The Japanese have many words with very nuanced meanings and this word refers to the act of gazing without thinking into the distance.

15. L’esprit de l’escalier in French

Ever had a really bad argument and you think of the perfect comeback only after the fact? This word embodies that feeling perfectly.


There are many words in foreign languages that don’t have an English equivalent. This is why it is important to learn another language. Not only do you learn new ways to express yourself, you learn about the world and different cultures. Learning a foreign or second language is a rich and rewarding experience, whether it’s for professional, social or personal reasons.

Come down to Agape School of Education and pick a foreign language course that you’re interested in! With over 13 different languages to choose from, you’re spoilt for choice! If you’re a Singaporean citizen above the age of 25, you are eligible for the SkillsFuture Credit Scheme! Our Korean and German classes are claimable via SkillsFuture Credit.

Posted in Language, Learning.

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