This podcast is on one of my favorite explorations. It’s all about words you wish existed.
Sometimes the world seems annoyed that there just isn’t a word to express exactly what you want. There’s no English word for that intimate feeling of sitting around a fire in the winter with close friends (though it exists in Danish: hygge). There’s no word for the feeling of anticipation when you’re waiting for someone to show up at your house and you keep going outside to see if they’re there yet (though it exists in Inuit: iktsuarpok). Or what about the word for that panicky hesitation just before you have to introduce someone whose name you can’t quite remember? (The Scots call this tortle.)
What’s the word for the act of annoying older brothers (vybafnout)? Or the scratching of your head in order to help you remember something you’ve forgotten (pana po’o)? Or that old trick where you tap someone lightly on the opposite shoulder from behind to fool them (mencolek)? Just look at Czech, Hawaiian or Indonesian respectively, and they have your answers.
Of course, sometimes the word you need seems simple. How do you differentiate a singular versus plural “you”?
But here’s the secret. For this one, at least, the English language already has an answer.