1. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Sometimes the English Language Can Be Lacking

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Garball, Mar 6, 2014.

    In trying to improve my vocabulary, I have found foreign languages have the best single words or colloquialisms for things that the English language would take entire sentences to explain. I don't know if non-English speaking peoples ever say the same thing about English; I've never been one.

    For instance, I found this Russian gem today:
    Zapoi
    Two or more days of drunkenness usually involving a journey or waking up in an unexpected place
    What are some colorful non-English (or obscure) words you have in your vocabulary?
     
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  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    From Puerto Rican Spanish:

    Cocotazo (ko-ko-TAH-so): A significant blow to the upper portion of the cranium. The root is coco, what we call a coconut.

    Palancazo (pa-lang-KAH-so): To be struck with the fist and arm anywhere on the body. The root is palanca, which is what we call a crab's claw.

    From Portuguese:

    Saudade: This word is often misinterpreted as longing or nostalgia, but it means much more than that and Portuguese has separate words for longing and nostalgia. Saudade is a pining for something that is not going to happen, may be completely impossible, never have existed, or something you never experienced or knew at all. If you were born in the 90's and you feel nostalgia over the 70's, collecting memorabilia and music and the like, you are experiencing saudade.
     
  3. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Is that hitting somebody with your fist and following with an elbow? I'm having a hard time figuring out how else to hit somebody with my fist and arm.
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Back when I studied architecture, I learned the word "xystus." It basically means an indoor exercise area. That's probably the most obscure English word I know.

    As for words from other languages, I love using "Weltanschauung" (technically it's an English word since it can be found in English dictionaries, but whatever). It means "comprehensive conception of the world from a particular standpoint."
     
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  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Imagine striking someone with the butt side of your fist, the pinky edge, out and away from you. Kinda' like clotheslining someone. You end up hitting them more centered on your wrist.
     
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  6. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Ah, I see; thank you. I bet there is a word for somebody asking a question that has a simple answer to it.
     
  7. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    LOL ;) There's actually a famous salsa song by Celia Cruz based on the idea of the palancazo. It talks about the fact that you can't keep two male crabs in the same cage because they'll kill each other a palancazos. It's a metaphor for the difficulties in a relationship between two very strong-willed people. ;)

     
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  8. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    In Britain to go on a 'bender' has the same meaning as zaloi. I hear that word has a different meaning in the States...

    Damn crabs, always ruining relationships ;)
     
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  9. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    That was genuinely funny. :D
     
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  10. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Danke Shoen (Danke Shain) is German for Thank You, but it could also be used for a tall basketball player named Shane that dunks the ball a lot.
     
  11. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    You assume that's a bug. Perhaps it's a feature.
     
  12. PastelParfait
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    PastelParfait New Member

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    I really like the word Nemesism, it's an old Greek word meaning frustration, anger, or aggression directed inward, toward oneself and one's way of living. It's derived from Nemesis, the Greek god of vengeance.
     
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  13. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This is pretty interesting.

    I just came across this monster the other day. Agglutinative languages allow heavy modification and the root word can expand into all kinds of meanings while still being just one word.
    [​IMG]
     
  14. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    In English: Bender

    You'll find that every word in English requires a sentence to describe... in English. [See Dictionary] ;-)
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    and bender = toot

    thirdwind...
    the word is really a greek one, not english... along with 'gymnasium'... english is infamous for appropriating words from other languages...
     
  16. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    kenjataimu Japanese

    period after orgasm when a man is free from sexual desire and can think clearly​
     
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  17. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    That word looks nothing like it sounds, 'happy ending.' Is the 'k' silent?
     
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  18. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    pareidolia

    the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist, as in seeing common earth items in images from the Mars explorer robots, or seeing the face of Jesus in a pancake.
     
  19. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    Fingerspitzengefuehl, from the German: meaning, a tingling at the fingertips, or a fingertip feel, with the connotation of imstinctive feel.

    Of course, in German, even short words are long.
     

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