If you think about it, all words are made up, although many of these words can be traced back to languages such as Latin, French, or Germanic. Perhaps the people from years gone by spent ages trying to figure out how to perfectly describe the thing they were doing and that word eventually stuck. Many words from around the world are not universally known but perfectly describe certain situations that other words just don’t manage to. Do you use any of these unusual words in your day-to-day life?
Have you ever been looking to dump your boyfriend but didn’t have the courage to do it yourself? There are people who are hired to do the dumping of a woman’s boyfriend to save her the trouble, it’s probably not the most lucrative career, but apparently there is a need for it. The word to describe that person is a “trennungsagentur,” it comes from the German language and literally translates to separation agency.
People can be really mean, especially where looks are concerned. There is a phrase in Norwegian that would be really offensive to call someone to their face. It is “sjo stygg,” and it is used to describe an unattractive person. It is meant as an insult and implies someone is so unattractive the tide will refuse to come in if they are standing on the beach. That is pretty mean, and we hope that Norwegian people don’t go around calling each other sjo stygg’s.
You might have noticed the second half of this phrase is “enragé” which could seem obvious it’s talking about rage or anger. The phrase comes from French and literally translates to “rabid sheep.” It is used to describe a person who usually is very calm but explodes with anger after losing their temper. Some people have got plenty of patience, but when they lose it they really go for it, if you know someone like that then feel free to call them a mouton enragé when they do!
We all have that one friend who refuses to put their hand in their wallet and pay for stuff. If there’s a round of drinks to be bought, they are the last person to offer to pay for it. Those kinds of people are common across the world, and in the Hindi community, they have the perfect phrase to sum them up. “Kanjoos makkhichoose” means a person so tight that if a fly happened to land in their tea, they would rather suck the tea off the fly than waste the precious few drops. It literally translates to English as “stingy hunter.”
Do you know somebody that cries when they sing the Star-Spangled Banner? Or maybe you know somebody who loves a good cry while singing along to their favorite ballads. In French, there is a perfect word to describe someone who lets their emotions get the better of them when they are singing. The phrase is “chantepleure” and the next time someone you know cries as they sing you can impress and confuse them by calling them this French term.
If you’ve been looking to expand your vocabulary recently then try integrating some of these phrases from around the world into your conversations. You’ll be able to impress people with your extensive knowledge while getting to poke a little fun at them at the same time, just don’t call anybody a sjo stygg!