Untranslatable. Discover Four German Words That Defy English Equivalents

Of course, you know these words in German. But how can you translate them into English?

You can’t. They’re untranslatable.

Let’s take a closer look

  1. Schadenfreude: This is a word used to describe the feeling of pleasure derived from someone else’s misfortune. It is a compound of the words ‘Schaden’ meaning harm, and ‘Freude’ meaning joy.
  2. Zeitgeist: This word is used to describe the mood or spirit of a certain time or time period in history. It is a combination of the words ‘Zeit’ meaning time and ‘Geist’ meaning spirit.
  3. Kummerspeck: This word is used to describe the excess weight gained from emotional overeating. It is a compound of the words ‘Kummer’ meaning sorrow or grief, and ‘Speck’ meaning fat.
  4. Fremdschämen: This word is used to describe the feeling of embarrassment or shame on behalf of someone else’s actions. It is a combination of the words ‘Fremd’ meaning foreign or other, and ‘Schämen’ meaning to feel ashamed.

I thought this might help you to explain these words to a speaker of English.

Who knows, they may even come in handy in your next conversation!

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