Lost in translation? 5 German Words that you cannot translate in English

German is as complex as it is fascinating, and its vocabulary is no exception. However, a non-speaker may find it difficult to find exact equivalent of a few German words, you may be surprised to know that there are many words in the German language that have no English equivalent and can only be explained using a much longer paraphrase. Here are 5 German words that may make you feel like you are lost in translation.

  1. Fremdschämen: An interesting word with a fascinating meaning, Fremdschämen is a feeling of embarrassment or shame for something that someone else is doing. You may feel this way when your friend is creating a scene, or even while watching TV.
  2. Drachenfutter: This one is for the male species. Drachenfutter is a gift or any other form of offering a boyfriend or husband offers in order to appease their angry girlfriend or wife.
  3. Schadenfreude: It is possibly the most popular untranslatable word that indicates the feeling of happiness or enjoyment that comes after listening other people’s misfortunes.
  4. Ohrwurm: Ever had that feeling when a song is stuck in your head? Ohrwurm is a term used to describe that feeling.
  5. Fernweh: This one is for travelers. The literal meaning of the word is ‘far-sickness,’ which describes the longing for faraway places rather than one’s home. The term is somewhat similar to ‘wanderlust,’ another word that has a German root.

Have something interesting to say about language blunders, translation, or interpretation? Share your views in the comments section.

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