15 Foreign Words that Should Definitely have English Equivalents!

by Unbelievable Facts5 years ago

9Pana Po’o:” A Hawaiian word that describes the action of scratching one’s head while trying to remember something.

Head scratching
Image credits: Alessandro Augusto Lucia/Flickr

How many times has it happened that you forget where you keep your keys and you look around scratching your head trying to remember where you put them? Hawaiian’s have a word for it and they call this entire thing “Pana Po’o.” It would be amazing to have an English word for this as well! (source)

10Vybafnout:” The Czechs use this word to refer to the act of annoying older siblings by jumping out of nowhere and shouting boo!

Sibling fighting
Image credits: Pixabay

There are many ways to annoy your elder siblings, and the most common of them is by jumping out of nowhere and yelling boo at them! We all must have done this a thousand times during our happy, childhood days. The Czechs even have a word for it. They call it “vybafnout.” (1, 2)

11Mencolek:” An Indonesian word that describes the prank of tapping a person on their shoulders from behind and then standing behind the other shoulder. 

Either you have performed this yourself or one of your friends has done this to you. But, we all know the act of tapping someone on the shoulder from one side and fool them by standing on the other side. The Indonesian word “mencolek” is used to describe this exact thing. Even though there is no English word for this, it’s amazing that such a word actually exists even in another language. (source)


12Tartle:” A Scottish word used to describe the time when you cannot remember the name of a person you have met before!

Image credits: Pixabay

You are in the grocery store and suddenly someone calls out your name and comes over as if they know you really well. You, on the other hand, have a hard time recalling the name of that person! Now, since the person has such a generous smile and knows you so well, you might not want to let them know that you don’t remember their name. What happened is that you just “tartled” there for a bit.

Tartle” is a Scottish word that exactly describes the time when it is difficult for a person to remember the name of another person whom they have met before. (source)

13Faamiti:” A Samoan word that refers to making a squeaking sound with one’s lips by sucking air in order to attract a dog or a child.

Image credit: Pixabay

When we see a cute puppy or a baby, we start making squeaking sounds with our mouth, sucking in air in the process. The kiss-like sounds we make when cuteness presents itself in front of us actually has a word in the Samoan language. Samoans call this “faamiti.” Pronounced “fah-mih-tee,” this word refers to the high-pitched squeaking sound that one makes to get the attention of cute animals or kids. (source)


14Tsundoku:” A Japanese word that refers to purchasing a book and not reading it but piling it up with other unread books.

Image credits: Ryan Hyde/Flickr

The problem of hoarding books and never reading them is real. It’s so real that the Japanese have a word for it. They call the person who performs such the act of “tsundoku.” According to Professor Andrew Gerstle at the University of London, the term might be older than currently believed. One of the first uses of the term was found in a printed text of 1879. It appeared in the context of a teacher having a lot of books but never reading them. This means that the term must have been in use even before that.

The word “tsundoku” can be broken down into two words: “doku” which stands for “reading,” whereas the “tsun” is derived from “tsumu” which means “to pile up.” So, when put together, the word “tsundoku” stands for “piling up reading material” or, in short, books. (source)

15Pochemuchka:” Russians use this word to refer to people who ask too many questions. 

Image credits: NHS Confederation/Flickr

A person asking too many questions is a “pochemuchka” in Russia. “Pochemuchka” is written as “почемучка” in Russia. “Почему” stands for “why” and “-чка” is used as a suffix to either refer to an object or person in the Russian language.

Pochemuchka” originated from a famous Russian children’s book called Что я ви́дел (Što ja vídel, “What I saw”). The book tells the story of a boy who was six years old and highly curious.  So, the word was invented to describe an inquisitive child, one who asks so many questions that it turns annoying in the end. This is quite an informal word and appears mostly in speaking terms rather than in writing. (source)

Also Read:
25 Interesting Words Derived from the Names of People Throughout History

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