Tuesday, November 23, 2010

mOrE WoRDs Nov.23, 2010

French Words With No English Translation

Dépaysement: The sensation of being in another country. My usual state of being.
La douleur exquise: The heart-wrenching pain of wanting someone you can’t have. Even a Sex in the City episode was named after it!
Chômer: To be unemployed, but because it’s a verb, it makes the state active.
Profiter: To make the most of or take advantage of.
Flâneur: As defined in the book Elegant Wits and Grand Horizontals, it’s “the deliberately aimless pedestrian, unencumbered by any obligation or sense of urgency, who, being French and therefore frugal, wastes nothing, including his time which he spends with the leisurely discrimination of a gourmet, savoring the multiple flavors of his city.” 
Esprit d’escalier: The literal translation is staircase wit, but it means to think of a comeback when it’s too late.
Retrouvailles: The happiness of meeting again after a long time. Sortable: An adjective for someone you can take anywhere without being embarrassed.
Voila/voici: It’s so necessary that we use it all the time. “Voila” literally means “there it is” and “voici means “here it is.” Empêchement: An unexpected last-minute change of plans. A great excuse without having to be specific.


Laci the Chinese Crested said...

I have had the feeling of dépaysement all my life.

microdot said...

But I have always aspired to being a flaneur all my life...

mud_rake said...

Your use of multicolored print makes your type nearly 3-D in appearance on my laptop...or is it just my tired, aging eytes??

Anonymous said...

I LOVE these - thanks. There's one french expression i heard years ago, but have forgotten, that goes something like this (in the bad english translation): you are cutting the grass ahead of where I walk, meaning, you're anticipating what I'm just about to get to. Any ideas?
Another one I love, from Italian, is :
Are you one of those people who really don’t care all that much about politics and issues in society? Then this word applies to you. The term came from a political party in Italy, in 1944, which promoted anti-political feelings and a mistrust of public organizations. The party was called the Fronte dell’Uomo Qualunque or “the front of the ordinary man”. Rather appropriate considering how many people obviously feel this way about politics as is evidenced by the low voter turnouts that we often see in elections.
This description, from a terrific site

is scarily relevant to our apolitical culture in australia.