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Monday, 2 September 2013

Better than English

There are words in some languages that simply don’t translate into a single English word. They can only be fully expressed in a phrase or sentence. Better than English collects these words – we post words and phrases that don't have direct English translations.

Shinrin-yoku (Japanese)
Forest bathing, or a visit to the forest for relaxation and breathing in tree oils to improve one’s health.

Fýrgebræc (Old English)
“The crackling sound made by a fire.”

Bothántaíocht (Irish)
From ‘bothán’ meaning ‘hut’ or ‘cabin’, the word refers to the act of going around the neighbours’ houses, collecting gossip.

Ayurnamat (Inuit)
A word describing the philosophy that there is no point in worrying about events that cannot be changed.

Schilderwald (German)
Said when a place or street is crowded with so many unnecessary road signs that you don’t know how to behave, or simply become lost.

Xingfu (Chinese)
A sort of happiness or contentedness felt through having everything you want in life and/or not having any looming worries. It describes a long-term feeling about one’s life situation rather than a happiness achieved through a singular outcome or situation.

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