17 Favorite Words from Around the World


3 minutes

cover
cover

Do you ever find yourself chatting with a bilingual friend in English, but then throwing in a word in that other language? It usually happens when you want to communicate a concept that English just doesn’t capture quite right. There is something great about the way learning a new language can expand the ways in which we understand the world. We asked our staff members to share their favorite words in other languages – check them out!

The conceptual words

A number of staff members shared words that succinctly express a concept in a way that English can’t. Check these out:

1. Gezellig

gezellig
gezellig

“People in Holland take the concept of gezelligheid seriously and strive to have a lot of their restaurants, pubs, public spaces and homes reflect this. It’s as much of an attitude as it is an aesthetic,” explained Kate from Au Pair USA.

2. Natsukashi

Natsukashi
Natsukashi

Michael McHugh, Vice President of Au Pair USA, likes this phrase because “it is an expression of experiencing nostalgia for a time, place, or thing. For example, you eat a McDonald’s cheeseburger for the first time in 20 years, but you instantly recognize the taste from your past. The taste is ‘natsukashi'.”

“It has an emotional connotation, but not too much. It is emotionally stronger than saying ‘I remember that time, place, or thing’ but is much lighter than saying ‘I am nostalgic for that time, place, or thing’ or ‘I miss that time, place, or thing’.”

3. Madrugada

madrugada
madrugada

James Bridge, our Working Abroad Program Manager, chose this word that refers to the early hours of the morning that we often still consider late night. We don’t have an Engish equivalent!

4. Achachai

achachai
achachai

Ani, on our Marketing team, said that this word is “fun to say and seems to articulate feeling cold better than ‘brrr!'”

Auditory bliss

Unsurprisingly, many people love words that are fun to say and listen to!

5. Ouais

ouais
ouais

Nabil, from our Career Training department, says that this word is pronounced like “way”. “I like the way it sounds,” he said, “especially when French speakers say ‘Ah, Ouais!'”

6. Murciélago

murcielago
murcielago

“It’s so fun to say!” said Melissa Quintero, our Work & Travel Program Coordinator.

7. Vacilón

vacilon
vacilon

Megan from Au Pair USA loves the sound of this word.

8. Se acicala

se aclcala
se aclcala

Megan is also a fan of this word!

9. Calabaza

calabaza
calabaza

Liz from Work & Travel especially loves the way that Spanish speakers in Spain pronounce this word.

10. Pamplemousse

pamplemousse
pamplemousse

Au Pair USA’s Megan thinks this word is just fun to say!

Love is in the air

11. Mi amore

miamore
miamore

One of our staff members loves this phrase simply because she’s “quite the romantic!”

12. حبيبتى

arabicmylove
arabicmylove

“It’s sweet and fun to say,” said Meggie from Au Pair USA.

Flexibility and versatility

These are qualities that many of our respondants cited as a positive characteristic of a word.

13. عادي

arabiceasy
arabiceasy

Megan from Au Pair USA likes the versatility of this word. “It has multiple meanings and you can use it in many different contexts,” she said.

14. Magari

magari
magari

Charlotte from Au Pair USA said that she likes this word because it has “so many different meanings, and there’s no English equivalent!”

15. خلص‎

stop enough
stop enough

Megan, on our Au Pair USA team, loves this word because, “you can use it in almost every sentence.”

Compound words

16. Oachkätzlschwoaf

squirrel
squirrel

Michael Gates, our Au Pair USA International Recruitment and Placement Manager, likes this word best because “It’s a great phonetic example of the Steierisch dialect in southern Austria.”

17. Sehenswürdigkeiten

sightseeing
sightseeing

Tanya Burovtseva, our Work & Travel USA Experiential Learning and Support Coordinator likes this German word best. “It’s super long and it took me a few attempts to pronounce it once I saw it for the first time. I was also very proud once I learned how to spell it by heart,” she said.

Stephanie Willhide

Stephanie started her career working for a cultural exchange program that supports English language learning in Chilean public schools. She came to InterExchange's Au Pair USA program in 2013, and now works as the Web Developer.

U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
Exclusive partner of the Erasmus Student Network for J-1 Visa sponsorship of internships in the U.S.
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Generation Study Abroad
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation