Foreign words that cannot be translated into Italian: what they mean and what they are

Have you ever heard the word Japanese hikikomori or the Portuguese word saudade? These are words that cannot be translated into Italian, i.e. terms that do not have an equivalent in Italian. The languages ​​of the world, in fact, are full of words that do not have a direct translation in other languages. These unique terms often capture complex concepts or human experiences that may not be easily expressed in a single word. They are like little linguistic puzzles, each with its own story and its own profound meaning that often goes beyond simple translation. Let’s explore some of these untranslatable words in Italian, which offer a fascinating look at different cultures and perspectives.

Foreign words untranslatable into Italian
  • 1Schadenfreude (German):
  • 2Mångata (Swedish):
  • 3Hikikomori (Japanese):
  • 4Tartle (Scottish):
  • 5Tsundoku (Japanese):
  • 6Saudade (Portuguese):
  • 7Gigil (Filipino):
  • 8Wabi-sabi (Japanese):
  • 9 Pihentagyú (Hungarian):

Schadenfreude (German):

This German word refers to the feeling of joy or satisfaction resulting from the misfortune or misfortune of others. It’s a mix of negative emotions like envy and joy, and it’s a complex concept to translate into a single word.

Mangata (Swedish):

Mangataa Swedish term, describes the reflection of the moon on the water, creating a trail of shimmering light. It is a term that evokes a poetic and evocative image of nature.

Hikikomori (Japanese):

The Japanese word hikikomori refers to people who withdraw from society and spend most of their time in isolation social, often confined to their rooms. This phenomenon, typically observed in Japan but increasingly widespread today, reflects a sense of disconnection and alienation from modern society.

Tartle (Scottish):

The Scottish term tartle refers to the moment of hesitation you feel when you are about to introduce someone, but forget their name. It’s an embarrassing and common situation that doesn’t have a precise word in many other languages.

Tsundoku (Japanese):

Tsundokua Japanese word, refers to the act of buy books and let them accumulate without ever reading them. It’s a word that captures the pleasure of collecting books, even if you don’t have time to read them all.

Saudade (Portuguese):

The Portuguese word saudade represents a feeling of deep melancholy and nostalgia for something or someone who is absent. It can evoke a feeling of sweet sadness about memories of the past or about something we want but can’t have.

Gigil (Philippine):

The Filipino term gigil describes the irresistible desire to hold something or someone in an affectionate way, like an adorable child or an adored pet. It is an emotion that often results in a spontaneous physical action of hugging or squeezing.

Wabi-sabi (Japanese):

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese concept that reflects an appreciation for the beauty of imperfect things. It is an aesthetic and spiritual philosophy that finds beauty in asymmetry, irregularity and the natural character of things. The term “wabi” refers to simplicity and solitude, while “sabi” refers to the beauty that comes from time and its passage. Together, these concepts celebrate the beauty found in nature, in the acceptance of change and impermanence.

Pihentagyu (Hungarian):

Pihentagyu is a Hungarian word that literally means “relaxed-rested head”. The figurative meaning can be associated with someone who is calm, quiet and perceptive. It is used to describe a person who is serene, peaceful or who has a clear and lucid mind.