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Eunoia: The Internet’s Dictionary of Untranslatable Words

by Alice Riddell on February 12th, 02020

             Chart of languages and their untranslatable words on Eunoia. 

Created in just 24 hours by Steph Smith, Eunoia offers hundreds of untranslatable words in a useful and accessible online dictionary. Eunoia is itself an untranslatable word meaning a “well-mind” or “beautiful thinking.” The user can search Eunoia’s database by “language, tag, or the word itself. There are over 500 words in the database, across 50+ languages and 50+ tags.”

The language with the highest untranslatable words was German; from the well-known Schadenfreude, which means to be happy at someone else’s misfortune, to the complicated Jein, meaning both yes and no. Russian also provided a rich trove of untranslatable words: Nutro– something that governs your inner being; Stushevatsya – ‘to fade into the background.’ Eunoia is an ongoing crowdsourced project and is open to new word suggestions.