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12 words that describe feelings of love in ways that English can’t

Love is a crazy and confusing thing. Throughout history, men and women have searched for ways to perfectly describe this intense feeling of the heart. We have mounds of poetry, literature, music and works of art that are dedicated to this very cause. Yet, we still struggle to explain our feelings.

Have you ever thought that maybe we need to try stepping outside the constrictions of our own language and look at words others around the world have created to express this emotion?

Here are 12 untranslatable words that describe feelings of love in a way that English just can’t:

Koi no yokan (Japanese)

Maybe it wasn’t love at first sight, but there was definitely a spark the first time you looked into each other’s eyes. This phrase describes the feeling that you get when first meeting someone, knowing that you two will eventually fall in love.

Forelsket (Norwegian)

Starry-eyed and stomach full of butterflies — this Norwegian word can be used to describe that intoxicatingly euphoric feeling you experience when you first fall in love.

Iktsuarpok (Inuit)

Let’s be honest. We have all obsessively checked the window to see if our sweetheart’s car has pulled up yet. This word can be used to encompass that feeling of anticipation you get when you are waiting for someone special to show up at your house.

L’esprit de escalier (French)

You know that “want to kick yourself” feeling you get after a conversation when you think of all the things you should have said? The French have you covered with this one.

Yuanfen (Chinese)

Do you feel like you two were meant to be or made for each other? In Chinese, this word refers to a relationship designed by fate or destiny.

Kilig (Tagalog)

This word describes that blush-producing, giddy rush you feel right after something good happens to you, such as accidentally bumping into your crush.

Viraag (Hindi)

Unsure of how to express the heartache you are going through? Hindi has the perfect word for you. This term can be used to encompass the crushing emotional pain of being separated from someone you love.

Saudade (Portuguese)

Sometimes English just can’t quite describe that “melancholic nostalgia you feel for someone or something from the past.” Portuguese can.

Kummerspeck (German)

Remember that time you got a bad case of the post-breakup blues and decided to eat everything in the house? Well, the Germans found a way to describe those Ben & Jerry’s pounds you gained during your emotional overeating. This amazing word literally means “grief bacon” (This isn’t technically a feeling of love, but it was too good not to share).

Retrouvailles (French)

Translated into English, this word means “rediscovery.” It refers to the joy that you feel upon being reunited with a loved one after a long separation.

Kara sevda (Turkish)

Have you ever loved someone so much that it is actually painful? Literally translating to “black love,” this lovesick term describes that passionate and blinding love you feel for another person.

Tuqburni (Arabic)

“You bury me.” Arabic has created a beautiful word that can be used to describe that “I cannot imagine life without you” feeling.

The next time you are agonizing over finding just the right words to explain your deep emotions of the heart, try looking outside your own language. Turns out there are some pretty amazing words out there!

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