5 Untranslatable Words for MELANCHOLY That Don’t Exist In English

Human emotions are complex and to describe them is an even more complicated affair. Furthermore, when it is to express sadness and depression, words fall shorter. We may have a long list of synonyms in English for melancholy, gloominess, sorrow, dejection, despair; but unfortunately, we don’t have definitions for a low sunken place or a downward feeling. However, some untranslatable foreign words can indeed enrich our emotional vocabulary.


Let us learn some of these words.

Mono no aware (Japanese)

It is a famous Japanese word that literally translates to ‘pathos of things’ or ‘empathy toward things.’  The word refers to a melancholic appreciation of the transiency of existence, awareness of impermanence and a transient gentle sadness or pathos arising from intense awareness of the permanence of earthly things.

Koev halev (Hebrew)

The translation is ‘my heart hurts’ and this beautiful word is used as a form of showing empathy for someone. When you closely relate to the suffering of someone else, so much that it causes your heart to ache, ‘you get a way too much koev halev’.

Mutterseelinallein (German)

Mutterseelinallein is the ‘mother’ of all German words when it comes to describing loneliness. Although it is a German word, it has been derived from the French idiom – ‘moi tout seul’ means ‘me all alone.’ When you are mutterseelinallein, you are just completely, utterly alone; so much that even your mother’s soul has left you.

Saudade (Portuguese)

Saudade tops the list when we talk about untranslatable Portuguese terms. This word refers to melancholic longing or yearning and evokes a sense of utter loneliness and incompleteness. In a casual sense, it can be used to describe the sad feeling when you miss someone even when you are going to meet the person or thing in near future.

Tante (Chinese)

The Chinese language has plenty of words that can’t be translated in English, and ‘Tante’ is one such word. This Chinese word means a feeling of nervousness and apprehensiveness. The state of worry is so heightened that you may even feel your heartbeat. Have we any English replacement for this word?

Conclusion – We are well aware of such words and their usages because we are a full-time translating agency. We have a team of expert translators who are capable of translating any document in 30+ languages. Be it business translation or certified translation service, our team of translators is efficient in all. Do you need any assistant in translating a document? Please contact us at: 888-670-3369.

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