language Useful Words in Eastern Languages English Doesn't Quite Have  

Isadora Teich
407 votes 118 voters 8.6k views 30 items Follow Embed

List Rules Vote up the coolest words from Eastern languages you wish had a satisfactory equivalent in English.

Whether you're a polyglot or not, it's no secret that knowing about other languages gives you an edge. Language opens doors to whole other cultures and ways of thinking. Take a look at these Eastern language words English doesn't have and discover whole new ways of thinking about stuff. These cool words from Eastern languages run the full range of weird to beautiful to spiritual to kind of disturbing.

There are so many cool Eastern words that aren't in English, and this list barely scratches the surface. It's no secret that the Eastern world is vastly different from the West. The cultures, what they value, and all the changes they are experiencing are all expressed through the uniqueness of the languages in that part of the world. 

These Eastern words with no English equivalents will make you laugh, surprise you, make you scratch your head, and sometimes even make you a little jealous that English doesn't have a word for that. Keep reading to get your word nerd on and vote up the best words.
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KY (空気読めない)


This Japanese phrase, often shortened to "KY" in conversation, refers to a person who cannot read situations or other people at all. These people often interrupt conversations,  change topics arbitrarily, and get involved in things that have nothing to do with them without having any idea what they're doing.
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Nyingdu-la


If Morticia and Gomez Addams are your relationship goals, then this Tibetan endearment is perfect for you and bae. It translates directly to "most honored poison of my heart" and is one of the most romantic pet names in Tibet. You would be hard pressed to find a pet name this goth in any language, and there's definitely not a common one in English. 
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Raabta (राब्ता)


This Urdu word means "connection" literally, but has a far deeper meaning. It refers to the indescribable connection between people. It has been described as a soul-level connection, something that transcends the physical entirely. There is no English equivalent for it. 
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Wabi-Sabi (侘寂)


This concept originates in Japan and is often hard to define. It's complex and encompasses both philosophy and aesthetics. It's mostly about accepting the fact that nothing is perfect and nothing lasts forever and embracing the natural imperfection and transience of everything. It can be about celebrating the natural, messy, and unpretentious way you live and what you appreciate, like choosing a beat-down cabin in the woods over a frilly gold-plated castle.