Definition Deficit

There is a multitude of words in the world that has no English counterpart, words that so precisely describe a particular situation that, when translated to English, end up with five times the word count of the original foreign word. Here I present you with five such words that could be helpful in your daily life, whether it’s trying to impress your English teacher (and get on her good side) or adopting a persona of intelligence in front of your peers.

1. Schlimazel (Yiddish): someone prone to bad luck. The schlemiel is the one who trips and spills his lunch; the schlimazel is the one who comes out covered in the spaghetti sauce.

2. Litost (Czech): a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery. Anyone thinking of Odysseus?

3. Rhwe (Tsonga, South Africa): almost exclusively meant for college students, this word means “to sleep on the floor without a mat, while drunk, and missing a few pieces of important clothing.”

4. Kaelling (Danish): Were you ever in a situation where your parents were yelling at you in public? Well, this word would describe them perfectly in the situation as a Kaelling is literaly a parent who likes to reprimand his or her children in public.

5. Gumusservi (Turkish): A must need for aspiring poets, this word means “moonlight shining on water.” Now you can incorporate foreign words into your writing.

Whichever you choose to use, I guarantee that you have nothing to lose. These words practically ooze intelligence and you’ll come off looking ten times as smart.