Hygge

hygge |ˈhʏɡə| noun • Danish a sense of warmth and coziness; creating an atmosphere of comfort, intimacy, and togetherness. When I first learned about the fire at the Notre Dame cathedral on Monday, my word for the week had already been chosen and this post partially written. As the news updates about the incident began …

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Brontide

brontide |ˈbrɑnˌtaɪd| noun • English a sound like that of distant thunder. Say what you will about English, but it can be used effectively if the person using it knows what they're doing. In terms of sheer vocabulary, English is simply a brute, having the largest number of distinct words of any language whose words …

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Nesh

nesh |nɛʃ| adjective • British English unusually susceptible to cold weather. I don't know about anyone else, but for me being cold is just a fact of life. I'm partly convinced that I may be the first cold-blooded human ever to be born. A breeze on an otherwise warm day is enough to make me …

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Wabi-sabi

侘寂 |wabi sabi| noun • Japanese finding beauty in things that are imperfect, incomplete, or impermanent. Perfection is a siren's song. It calls to us across deep and treacherous waters, its mysteriously alluring melody tempting us to pursue it, promising us greatness when we reach it. But if we follow, allowing ourselves to become blinded …

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Ćutati

ћyтати |ćutati|verb • Serbo-Croatian to not speak, to be silent. Sometimes it seems like the world can't stop talking. In English, we have so many words to describe the ways people speak that we're often taught in school to avoid the word "said" at all costs, in favor of the dozens of more colorful speech …

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Toska

тоска |toska| noun • Russian sadness, melancholia, lugubriousness. No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to …

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Juoksentelisinkohan

juoksentelisinkohan |ˈjoʊksenˌteliːsiːŋkoʊhɑːn| expression • Finnish "I wonder if I should run around aimlessly?" Compound words are fun. German is best known for doing this — stringing words and word parts, known as lexemes, together to create a single monstrosity of a word for something that usually doesn't need a dedicated word to begin with — but …

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