Fleeting moments, sublime memories, complex feelings: there are some concepts that are felt deeply but simply defy capture in words.
Yet some languages have managed to coin words for these concepts that are otherwise hard to describe. For instance, what exactly do you call it when you feel strange and disoriented in a foreign country as you experience new things? It’s not quite homesickness. Perhaps try the French word dedicated to this emotion: dépaysement, which translates literally to un-countrying but conveys much more about the joy, weirdness, novelty, daze and almost fantastical nature of being a traveler in a new land.
Here are some more delightfully untranslatable words from the French language:
the art of wandering a city’s streets without goal or destination but simply for the pleasure of soaking up the ambience
la douleur exquise
the “exquisite pain” that one feels from unrequited love
the happiness of meeting someone after a very long time
the adjective to use for family members and friends whom you consider “cool enough” to take to a party
something in between whining and complaining about your general dissatisfaction with the world
literally a fake puffing of a cigarette, crapoter describes a pretender or a fake person
l’esprit d’escalier or “staircase wit” describes that annoying moment when you come up with the perfect witty comeback but only too late