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22 Words With No English Equivalent
1. Zhaghzhagh (Persian): The chattering of teeth from the cold or from rage.
2. Yuputka (Ulwa): A word made for walking in the woods at night, it’s the phantom sensation of something crawling on your skin.
3. Slampadato (Italian): Addicted to the UV glow of tanning salons? This word describes you.
4. Luftmensch (Yiddish): There are several Yiddish words to describe social misfits. This one is for an impractical dreamer with no business sense. Literally, air person.
5. Iktsuarpok (Inuit): You know that feeling of anticipation when you’re waiting for someone to show up at your house and you keep going outside to see if they’re there yet? This is the word for it.
6. Cotisuelto (Caribbean Spanish): A word that would aptly describe the prevailing fashion trend among American men under 40, it means one who wears the shirt tail outside of his trousers.
7. Pana Po’o (Hawaiian): “Hmm, now where did I leave those keys?” he said, pana po’oing. It means to scratch your head in order to help you remember something you’ve forgotten.
8. Gumusservi (Turkish): Meteorologists can be poets in Turkey with words like this at their disposal. It means moonlight shining on water.
9. Vybafnout (Czech): A word tailor-made for annoying older brothers—it means to jump out and say boo.
10. Mencolek (Indonesian): You know that old trick where you tap someone lightly on the opposite shoulder from behind to fool them? The Indonesians have a word for it.
11. Faamiti (Samoan): To make a squeaking sound by sucking air past the lips in order to gain the attention of a dog or child.
12. Glas wen (Welsh): A smile that is insincere or mocking. Literally, a blue smile.
13. Bakku-shan (Japanese): The experience of seeing a woman who appears pretty from behind but not from the front.
14. Boketto (Japanese): It’s nice to know that the Japanese think enough of the act of gazing vacantly into the distance without thinking to give it a name.
15. Kummerspeck (German): Excess weight gained from emotional overeating. Literally, grief bacon.
16. Mencomet (Indonesian): Stealing things of small value such as food or drinks, partly for fun.
17. Scheissbedauern (German): The disappointment one feels when something turns out not nearly as badly as one had hoped.
18. Mono-no-aware (Japanese): Appreciating the sadness of existence.
19. Mahj (Persian): Looking beautiful after disease.
20. Plimpplamppletteren (Dutch): The skimming of a flat stone as many times as possible across the surface of the water.
21. Koshatnik (Russian): A person who loves cats (actually there is an equivalent for this: ailurophile - thus the list is not completely correct).
22. Ava (Tahitian): Wife (but also means whisky).
Words to Describe Someone's Voice
I went scouting through the internet for words to describe a character’s voice. Here’s a handy list for all you writers:
- Adenoidal/Nasal - Some of the sound seems to come through the nose.
- Appealing - Shows that you want help, approval, or agreement.
- Breathy - With loud breathing noises.
- Brittle - You sound as if you are about to cry.
- Croaky - Sounds as if they have a sore throat.
- Dead - They feel or show no emotion.
- Disembodied - Voice comes from someone who you cannot see.
- Flat - Spoken in a voice that does not go up and down.
- Fruity - Deep and strong in a pleasant way.
- Grating - Unpleasant and annoying.
- Gravelly - Low and rough.
- Gruff - Has a rough low sound.
- Guttural - Deep and made at the back of your throat.
- High-Pitched - Very high and shrill.
- Hoarse - Low rough voice, usually because their throat is sore.
- Honeyed - Falsely sweet voice.
- Husky - A husky voice is deep and sounds hoarse often in an attractive way.
- Low - Quiet and difficult to hear / in a deep voice.
- Matter-of-fact - Used about someone’s behavior or voice.
- Modulated - Controlled and pleasant to listen to.
- Monotonous - Boring because it does not change in loudness or become higher or lower.
- Orotund - Loud and clear.
- Penetrating - So high or loud that it makes you uncomfortable.
- Plummy - This word shows that you dislike people who speak like this.
- Quietly - In a quiet voice.
- Raucous - Loud and sounds rough.
- Ringing - very loud and clear.
- Rough - Not soft and is unpleasant to listen to.
- Shrill - Very loud, high, and unpleasant.
- Silvery - Clear, light, and pleasant.
- Singsong - Rises and falls in a musical way.
- Small - A small voice or sound is quiet.
- Smoky - Sexually attractive in a slightly mysterious way.
- Softly Spoken - A quiet gentle voice.
- Sotto Voce - A very quiet voice.
- Stentorian - Loud and severe.
- Strangulated - One that someone stops before they finish making it.
- Strident - Loud and unpleasant.
- Taut - Shows someone is nervous or angry.
- Thick - Voice sounds less clear because of an emotion.
- Thin - High and unpleasant to listen to.
- Throaty - Low and seems to come from deep in your throat.
- Tight - Shows that you are nervous or annoyed.
- Toneless - Does not express any emotion.
- Tremulous - It is not steady because you are afraid or excited.
- Wheezy - Has difficulty breathing.
- Wobbly - Unstable tone due to fright or emotions.
Alternatives for: "Smile"
Okay, so, this turned up a lot like the “said” debate. Some of the alternatives for smile just happen to be for really specific situations, and/or are often misused.
Smile is a great word, and when you try and use an alternative, said alternative often ends up being: a) wrongly used or b) ridiculous sounding. Oftentimes it’s just okay to write “he smiled” or “they smiled at each other” rather than getting “creative” with it.
Here are some options for the word “smile”, plus their definitions so you can use them correctly.
- Happy expression: well, there isn’t much to do here. It’s pretty self-explanatory.
- Beam: to smile expansively. To express by means of a radiant smile. It has a positive connotation. E.g. He beamed his approval of the new idea.
- Closed-mouthed smile. Again, self explanatory. It can have either a positive or neutral connotation, in my opinion.
- Crinkle eyes: I once read that a person crinkles their eyes when their smile is honest, so this would have a positive meaning.
- Expression of friendliness/tenderness/etc.
- Grin: It really depends. (To) grin is the action of drawing back the lips, revealing your teeth. It can be either a wide smile out of amusement, embarrassment, glee, etc, (positive) or a grimace (negative connotation for this case).
- Leer: To look with a sidelong glance, indicative especially of sexual desire or sly and malicious intent. (mostly a negative connotation)
- Mug: slang for a grimace and/or face.
- Pleased look
- Show off dimples
- Show some teeth
- Simper: To smile in a silly, self-conscious, often coy manner.
The deal with “smirk”
- It has a rather negative connotation.
- It is not a positive, friendly smile, so it is not a (positive) substitute for it.
- It can be both a verb or a noun yet it is prefered not to overuse as a verb
- I would define it as a “smug, condescending, mocking” kind of smile.
Good, glad we’ve cleared this out.
UPG (Unsubstantiated/Unverified Personal Gnosis): A spiritual experience you have that may not perfectly align with others’.
SPG (Shared Personal Gnosis): A spiritual experience that is shared by multiple, unrelated people, independently.
CG (Confirmed Gnosis): A spiritual experience which is later found to have roots or basis in spiritual lore or accepted fact.