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Untranslatable Words to Describe Your Perfect Spring Break

Do you know the feeling when you experience something simply indescribable in words? Well, the truth is that it might only be indescribable in English. Check out these untranslatable words from all over the globe that just might perfectly describe what you experience this spring break.


This word comes from the Nordic language Swedish. It quite literally means ‘to wake up early in the morning in order to hear the birds sing.’ I don’t know how many people in Manhattan wake up to hear birds sing, but to those of you jetting off to fabulously warm parts of the world, I suggest setting a morning aside for Gökotta.

2. Tsunduko


This Japanese word means ‘the act of buying a book and then leaving it unread, usually discarded in a pile of other unread books’. If you’re a booklover who’s planning to stay in frosty Manhattan this break, then I dare say this is a concept that you are familiar with. Buying new books and then rereading old ones is a practiced all over the world, including in Japan, so you need not be ashamed. Perhaps this spring you’ll consider breaking from your Tsunduko tradition and finally delve into that pile of discarded books?

3. Fernweh

This German word is a perfect description for those of us plagued by constant wanderlust. The word refers to a feeling of homesickness for a place you’ve never been. Scrolling through Instagram and seeing all of your friends amazing pictures of Paris may incite this feeling deep in the pit of your stomach.

4. Utepils


The word Utepils is from Swedish’s northern brother Norwegian. The word translates to ‘sitting outside in the sun on a beautiful day and enjoying a cold beer.’ While Manhattan isn’t exactly boasting beer-drinking sunshine right now, those of you heading to the sun soaked tropics should have no problem engaging in this practice. Whether you’re braving the bustling streets of Mumbai or relaxing on a beach in Costa Rica, take a moment to enjoy the sunshine and drink a cold beer for those of us stuck on the frozen island of New York.

5. Dépaysement



The French dépaysement refers to the feeling that comes with not being in one’s country. It’s a slight mixture of homesickness, feeling lost, and excitement. For those of you who are travelling this break, this should be a familiar feeling. Dépaysement may make you feel a tiny bit homesick, but it also makes travelling even more exhilarating, so embrace it.

6. Duende

New York is rife with amazing art museums to suit even the fussiest of tastes. The Spanish word Duende refers to the power that a work of art has to move a person. If you’re planning to stay in New York for break, perhaps consider succumbing to Duende and losing yourself in one of new York’s famous art museums. (The MOMA is free for NYU students, so there’s absolutely nothing holding you back from experiencing something magnificent.)

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