Conversation Starters

25 Romantic Words That Don’t Exist in English But Should

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Sometimes words aren’t enough to communicate with the object of your affection — English words, that is. In case you aren’t lucky enough to speak 12 languages fluently, we’ve compiled a love and dating-themed vocabulary list drawn from sources as varied as Tagalog, Dutch, and Inuit. Get over your saudade, indulge in a little cafuné, and you’ll be queesting in no time.

1. Mamihlapinatapai (Yaghan, Tierra del Fuego) – This term, which holds the Guinness World Record for “most succinct word,” means “looking at each other hoping that either will offer to do something which both parties desire but are unwilling to do.”

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2. Saudade (Portuguese) - A melancholic nostalgia for someone or something from the past.

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3. Tuqburni (Arabic) – The literal translation is “You bury me,” referring to a love so deep you can’t imagine living life without your partner.

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4. Bakku-shan (Japanese) - A girl who’s only attractive when she’s viewed from behind.

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5. Forelsket (Norwegian) – That intoxicatingly euphoric feeling you experience when you’re first falling in love.

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6. Cafuné (Portuguese) - The act of running your fingers through your lover’s hair.

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7. Paasa (Tagalog) – “A person who leads someone on (intentionally or not). Appearing as if they are genuinely interested romantically when they aren’t.”

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8. Kummerspeck (German) – Literally translating to “grief bacon,” this delightful word refers to the less-than-delightful excess weight you gain from emotional overeating.

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9. Onsra (Boro language of India) - That bittersweet feeling of loving for the last time — in other words, that feeling you get when you know a love won’t last.

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10. Gretchenfrage (German) - A question asked for the purpose of finding out someone’s real intentions. First dates are overflowing with Gretchenfrages.

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11. La douleur exquise (French) – The excruciating pain that comes from wanting someone you can’t have.

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12. Queesting (Dutch) – A whole verb dedicated to inviting a lover into your bed for some pillow talk.

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13. Oodal (Tamil) - The fake-sulking you do after getting into a lovers’ tiff, usually over something inconsequential. Also see: crocodile tears.

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14. Kilig (Tagalog) – The stupid-silly rush you feel immediately after something good happens, especially when it comes to love (like after accidentally bumping into your crush.)

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15. Cavoli riscaldati (Italian) – When you attempt to start up a failed relationship or love affair. Also, literally, ‘reheated cabbage.’

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16. Buksvåger (Swedish) – What you call someone who has had sex with someone you’ve already had sex with.

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17. Koi no yokan (Japanese) - It’s not quite love at first sight, but koi no yokan is nevertheless the feeling you get upon meeting someone that love will happen for the two of you, in time.

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18. Gigil (Tagalog) – That indescribable, irresistible urge to grab or pinch something or someone super-adorable.

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19. Iktsuarpok (Inuit) - The anticipation you feel when you’re waiting for someone to show up at your house.

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20. Voorpret (Dutch) - That feeling of excitement you get even before an event actually takes place. Literally translates to “pre-fun.”

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21. Retrouvailles (French) - Retrouvailles, or “rediscovery,” refers to the happiness you feel upon reuniting with someone after you’ve been apart for a long time.

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22. Razbliuto (Russian) – The (usually sentimental) feeling you have toward someone you used to loved but no longer do.

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23. Viraag (Hindi) - The emotional pain of being separated from a loved one.

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24. Fensterln (German) – When you have to climb through someone’s window in order to have sex with them without their parents knowing about it.

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25. Layogenic (Tagalog) – When someone looks attractive from far away, but, oh, they’re getting closer, oh, never mind. Also see: Total Monet

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Get more Vocab Lessons posts here.

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