language has the power to convey emotions that words cannot, and there are thousands to choose from

The history of languages is an intricate, intersecting web that continues to evolve to this day. Spoken language is believed to have begun around 200,000 years ago, while the English language has developed over the course of roughly 1,400 years. Did you know that many words that exist in other languages do not have an English equivalent? Although these words may have been lost in translation, the meaning behind them is often beautiful and poetic. Below you will find a selection of words with no English equivalent that eloquently describe emotions that you can’t quite put your finger on:

Waldeinsamkeit (German)

Having a sense of oneness with nature when alone in the woods accompanied by a feeling of solitude.

Gjensynsglede (Norwegian)

The feeling of joy when reconnecting with an old friend or loved one that has been away for a time.

Saudade (Portugese)

Longing or feeling of nostalgia for a person, time, or place that was in the past and is now lost or will not return.

Wabi Sabi (Japanese)

To find beauty in life’s imperfections and embrace the fact that everything is constantly changing.


To find happiness in the happiness of others out of a sense of love for the other person.


The emotional response when viewing a work of art that is considered to be deeply moving.


The feeling of coziness when surrounded by close friends and loved ones, especially when sitting around a warm fire.


An innate reason for existing, and the belief that everyone has one, although it is up to the individual to discover it.

Ubuntu(Nguni Bantu)

The feeling and recognition that we are all connected and therefore dependent on each other to make the world a better place.

Koyaanisqatsi (Hopi language)

The sense of imbalance or a way of life that is so hectic it calls for a new way of being.

The human language is complex and beautiful, and sometimes we need to explore words outside of our native tongue to describe our emotions. Many of these words were developed through cultural influences, and yet their meanings are universal to the human condition.

Written by Laura LeFrenier

This article has been republished from Renewed Awareness Magazine.

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