10 Foreign Words We Need in English—Illustrated!


Sometimes you just don't have the word you need to describe a feeling or an event. Lucky for us, there are plenty of other languages to borrow from. For her new book Lost in Translation, illustrator Ella Frances Sanders picked 50 foreign words that will help you better describe extremely specific incidents, and she brought them to life with delightful artistic renderings. Here are some of our favorites. 

1. Commuovere (Italian)

v. To be moved in a heartwarming way, usually relating to a story that moved you to tears.

2. Tretår (Swedish) 

n. On its own, "tår" means a cup of coffee and "patår" is the refill of said coffee. A "tretar" is therefore a second refill, or a "threefill."

3. Akihi (Hawaiian)

n. Listening to directions and then walking off and promptly forgetting them means that you've gone "akihi."

4. Wabi-sabi (Japanese)

n. Finding beauty in the imperfections, an acceptance of the cycle of life and death.

5. Mangata (Swedish)

n. The road-like reflection of the moon in the water

6. Luftmensch (Yiddish)

n. Refers to someone who is a bit of a dreamer and literally means "air person."

7. Tsundoko (Japanese)

n. Leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piling up together with other unread books.

8. Kilig (Tagalog) 

n. The feeling of butterflies in your stomach, usually when something romantic or cute takes place.

9. Glas wen (Welsh) 

n. This literally means a "blue smile"; one that is sarcastic or mocking.

10. Komorebi (Japanese) 

n. The sunlight that filters through the leaves of the trees.

Reprinted with permission from Lost in Translation by Ella Frances Sanders, copyright (c) 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.