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SchadenfreudeShemomedjamoIktsuarpok.Myötähäpeä. Every language has them, and they’re always trouble. They’re the “untranslatables,” and what they mean is just too much for other languages to capture in one word.

Some languages, like Turkish, are structured to have longer words. Take gumusservi, which translates to “the light of the moon as it shines upon the water.” And muvaffakiyetsizleştiricileştiriveremeyebileceklerimizdenmişsinizcesine means “as though you are from those we may not be able to easily make a maker of unsuccessful ones.” Um, yeah, moving right along (that’s the longest word in Turkish by the way).

There are plenty of untranslatables in English too. Global polls of language professionals have given top prizes to bumf, chuffed, googly, serendipity, gobbledegook and kitsch. Some English untranslatables are taken from German, some from Persian and many have no known origin. Hell, some of them wouldn’t even “translate” into different versions of English!

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