“Untranslatable Words” is a project illustrating words from several languages which are impossible to translate. Initiator of the project was European Commission’s representation in Lithuania.
Gökotta (Swedish): To wake up early in the morning with the purpose of going outside to hear the first birds sing.
Sobremesa is a Spanish word that refers to the time spent after lunch or dinner socializing with the people you shared the meal with. Meals are a very important part of Spanish culture, and the Spaniards value the time spent relaxing and chatting after they finishing eating. The Catalan equivalent is sobretaula.
Litost (Czech). Milan Kundera, author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, remarked that, “As for the meaning of this word, I have looked in vain in other languages for an equivalent, though I find it difficult to imagine how anyone can understand the human soul without it.” The closest definition is a state of agony and torment created by the sudden realization of one’s own misery.
Pålegg (Norwegian): Anything and everything you can put on a slice of bread.
Verschlimmbessern (German): To accidentally make something worse in the process of attempting to mend or improve it. Multiple applications regarding computers, cake baking and relationships.
Gattara (Italian): This untranslatable word describes a woman, often old and lonely, who devotes herself to stray cats. The Simpsons have this character too, known as the Crazy Cat Lady.
Házisárkány (Hungarian): This untranslatable word would be literally translated as “home-dragon”. The derogatory term actually designates an impatient or ill-natured spouse.