What Words Should Exist in English?

pizza by Stella Blackmon

Last week, Alex and I went out to dinner…

We shared a caesar salad, and then I had salmon with the tiniest peas. And the next day, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I kept getting that satisfied, nostalgic feeling and saying, “That dinner was so good last night.”

There should be a word for that! The glowy feeling the morning after an epic meal.

There should also be words for:
the soothing feeling of organizing a closet
the sadness after finishing a wonderful book
the joy of having a baby fall asleep on you

Recently, the New Yorker wrote about the Positive Lexicography Project, an online glossary of untranslatable words. The leader of the project, psychology lecturer Tim Lomas, specifically searched for words to describe different kinds of happiness. Mamihlapinatapei is Yagán for “a look between people that expresses unspoken but mutual desire.” Norwegians use the word “utepils” to describe “a beer that is enjoyed outside… particularly on the first hot day of the year.” In Arabic, tarab means “musically induced ecstasy or enchantment.” And gigil is Tagalog for “the irresistible urge to pinch/squeeze someone because they are loved or cherished.”

These days, when we’re all trying to find comfort and delight in small things, I’m curious: what kinds of happiness would you want to describe? Or sadnesses? Or pastimes? What else should there be words for in English? xoxo

P.S. 11 untranslatable words from other countries, and the hardest tongue twister.

(Photo by Stella Blackmon.)




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