There are simply no words... seriously, we haven't come up with those yet.
March 14, 2009 7:40 AM Subscribe
Is there a word or phrase in any language that describes a moment that is so perfect that it makes you sad, either because it will eventually end or because every moment can't be that perfect? How about a word for a moment that is so perfect that "words can't describe it"? Are there any other concepts that are difficult to describe in English, but easy in other languages?
posted by aristan to Writing & Language (40 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
The French and Germans have words/phrase for that feeling you get when you come up with the perfect comeback too late to use it (l'espirt d'escalier and treppenwitz). Arabic and German speakers can also easily describe the feeling of joy they find in others' pain (Shamateh and Schadenfreude).
They're lucky. With English, everything is made up of drawn out phrases and clauses, or so it seems when compared to German, where there's a short (and terse sounding) word for everything.
So, are there word that describe the moments above? Do you know any other cool phrases (in any language) that can't be expressed compactly in English? Are there phrases/words/concepts that are easy in English, but difficult to describe in another language?