You've Probably Felt These Very Specific Emotions, But Never Knew Their Names

There are words in languages all over the world that do not have a single English equivalent... but we really wish they did. For example, the Germans have a word — kummerspeck — for weight gained from emotional overeating. (Not that we'd know anything about that.) The literal English translation is "grief bacon," which, to be fair, is also kind of great.

Related: These Foreign Words Would Be Handy To Have In English

There's A Word For That

Looking at a photograph of a beautiful beach in Phuket, Thailand might give you the strange feeling of homesickness, even though you've never been there. There's a word for that emotion. The Finnish word kaukokaipuu means the craving of a distant land with an intensity that almost feels like homesickness. The Dusun Baguk people of Indonesia have a word that describes a feeling you may have experienced while talking to the CEO of your company: malu, or the experience of feeling inferior and awkward around people of higher status. For the record, research shows this feeling is nothing to be ashamed of, but is rather an appropriate reaction that is a sign of good manners. These highly specific emotions, all of which you've probably felt but never before had a word for, are among those collected in British researcher Tiffany Watt Smith's book, "The Book of Human Emotions."

Related: This Is The Most Annoying Word In The English Language

Why Should I Care?

Parents know that it's helpful to teach a toddler the word "frustrated" when they are having a tantrum — because it's hard for them to deal feelings that they can't name or understand. It's not much different for that adult who is dreaming of Phuket. "It's a long-held idea that if you put a name to a feeling, it can help that feeling become less overwhelming," Smith has said. "All sorts of stuff that's swirling around and feeling painful can start to feel a bit more manageable."

Tiffan Watt-Smith On Human Emotions

Listen to a talk from the author of The Book Of Human Emotions.

Animals Have Human Emotions

Could your pup feel malu?

Written by Curiosity Staff June 28, 2016

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