words are the source of misunderstandings

for as long as I can remember, I have been in love with words.
one of my very first gifts as a sweet lil babe was a book of poetry.
I still have it tucked away safely in the loft at my parents house, too afraid to bring it with me for fear of losing everything that molded my heart.

now, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was absolutely correct when he said, “words are the source of misunderstandings.”

If you study the English language, most of our sentences come from a single word that exist in another.  For some inexplicable reason, it seems we Americans always have to take the hard way out.  Whatever.

here are a few of my favourite untranslatable, undeniably potent words for you to devour:

La Douleur Exquise – The heart-wrenching pain of wanting someone you can’t have.
Chômer – To be unemployed, but because it’s a verb, it makes the state active.
Profiter – To take advantage of, or make the most 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 “wit of the staircase”, but it means to think of a comeback when it’s far too late.
Retrouvailles –  The happiness of meeting again after a long time.
Sortable – An adjective for someone you can take anywhere without being embarrassed.
Voilà / Voici –  It’s so necessary that we use it all the time. “voilà” 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.
Saudade – A nostalgic longing to be near again to something or someone that is distant, or that has been loved and then lost; “the love that remains.”

These words have burrowed their way down and made a cozy little nest in my heart, where they’re snuggled in and glowing happily. They won’t come out for love or money.

 

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