Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that 2017 was a tough year—it came with conflict, division, pain, and loss. While there’s no magic switch that flips on January 1, the wind-down of this year seems to signal that 2018 will (hopefully) be one full of positive change. (Thank goodness.)
One shining light throughout it all, though, is that we found a way to stay positive. There are plenty of things that bring joy and unity no matter what the circumstance—but the queen of those things is ~love~.
That being said, our singular English word of “love” doesn’t always convey the exact emotion we’re after. Think: When you love your bed and comment “love” on that meme, it’s definitely not the same as the way you love your friends or family. And, obv, that’s very different from the way you love your SO. You’ve probably even realized that the love you’ve had for various partners in your life has been different too.
Thankfully, Expedia picked out these nine foreign words that convey feelings of love lacking a proper English equivalent—so you can finally express how you really feel (even if no one else speaks the language). How you survived without them this long? Who knows.
/ka-fu-neh/ – Portuguese (Brazil): The motion of running your fingers through your beloved’s hair.
Scalps are full of pheromones (the chemicals behind attraction), so stroking your loved one’s hair is like fueling the fires of love. We hope this word also includes the satisfaction of petting a cat or dog—because if that’s not the epitome of pure happiness, then what is?! (Plus, puppies come with health benefits, you guys!)
/phor-rel-sket/ – Norwegian (Norway): A euphoric feeling experienced when you start falling in love.
*This* is the stuff love songs are written about. The impetus behind all those teenagers breaking curfew. The reason Nicholas Sparks has a writing career. It’s like that split-second free-falling dream that jolts you awake when you’re first drifting off to sleep—only, unlike the dream, this keeps going, and takes you all the way to another universe. The word itself may not sound all that glorious, but its meaning? Life-changing magic.
/ghee-ghil/ – Tagalog (Philippines): The desire to pinch or squeeze something (or someone!) that is overwhelmingly cute.
Kinda like when you fall into an Instagram black hole of small furry creatures and actually worry that you’ll explode and crush your phone out of sheer joy. Also, teeny tiny baby feet and the miniature shoes made for them.
/ma-me-la-pin-ya-ta-pi/ – Yagan (Tierra del Fuego, Chile): A meaningful, wordless look shared between two individuals who want to initiate something, but are scared to make the first move.
Not quite “love at first sight,” this is that nervous, accidental eye contact you made with your crush down the hall in high school, and the way you lock eyes, turn away, then cross gazes again from opposite side of a crowded bar. It’s the could-change-everything moment that rom-com meet cutes are made of.
/ku-tch/ – Welsh (Wales): A hug. A safe haven given to you by the one you love.
Finally—a word that expresses the satisfaction of being the little spoon. (Pssst. Go spoon someone. Cuddling is good for you.)
/ik–tsuar–pok/ – Inuit (Greenland): The feeling of anticipation while waiting for someone to come over to your home.
Whether it’s a 2 a.m. “u up?” text, a Netflix and chill sesh, or a fancy dinner, there’s nothing quite like those pre-date butterflies to send your heart rate sky-high, turn your brain into a “what if?” machine, and convince you to check your phone 8,000 times every minute until they’ve arrived.
/vi-rag/ – Hindi (India): The emotional pain felt due to being away from the one you love.
Absence may make the heart grow fonder, but it hurts like hell. It’s like hunger, thirst, tiredness—a basic human need to survive and function—but you can’t satisfy it without seeing your bae. (LDR people, you know what I’m talking about.)
/yu-burni/ – Arabic (Lebanon): In English, the literal translation is “you bury me.” It is used to express the hope that your loved one outlives you, so you don’t have to endure the pain of living without them.
Because the only thing worse than “viraag” (^^^) is knowing that you’ll be feeling it for the rest of your time on earth.
/fle-cha-zo/ – Spanish (Spain): The feeling that you’ve been struck by Cupid’s arrow (when you have an intense connection with someone).
The warm-and-fuzzy feeling that makes you want to call your mom just to say, “I met someone.” It’s kinda like that post-spin class endorphin rush that makes you optimistic and hopeful and ready to take over the world—but without the sweat.