20 Awesomely Untranslatable Words from Around the World Link

Hello friends,

Just wanted to share a link I got through Stumble today for any linguistically-interested folks out there reading this:


Be sure to check out Page 2 as well.

That’s all folks!


Profiterole: Bell Commercial

Bell commercial: scene of a couple at dinner; narrator says Canada’s best network could come in handy when the girl is leaving the table and says when she comes back, they will do profiteroles.

I had a heck of a time with this word, because I first heard it as “perfiderol”, which, of course, is not a word. I looked it up in my trusty sites: www.wordreference.com, www.dictionary.com, and http://www.merriam-webster.com.  They didn’t have any worthwhile suggestions for me.  Even Google didn’t initially suggest anything, except for perfideral, which was one site where someone clearly mistook it for “peripheral”.  I tried perfideral, perfiderole, periderol, periderole, pirfiderol, pirfiderole….. didn’t think to substitute the schwa with a letter “u”.  Anyway, I’m posting this here, in case someone else is looking up the same thing.

And the answer you’ve all been waiting for:

Main Entry: pro·fit·er·ole
Pronunciation: \prə-ˈfi-tə-ˌrōl\
Function: noun
Etymology: French, perhaps from profit profit
Date: 1884

: a miniature cream puff with a sweet or savory filling

Main Entry: pro·fit·er·ole
Pronunciation: \prə-ˈfi-tə-ˌrōl\
Function: noun
Etymology: French, perhaps from profit profit
Date: 1884

: a miniature cream puff with a sweet or savory filling

Mistranslated Latin Tattoo Blog

So amusing.


I fully enjoy a reader’s comment:

“On a related note, my Chinese friend always has fun watching people with Chinese alphabet tattoos. He once met a girl who had a tattoo of a Chinese character for love on her shoulder. Except she had no idea that the character actually stood for “soy sauce”.”


Someone’s gonna get a ‘schooling’….. (haha)

Have you ever had an experience when you’ve realized someone important in your life is being ignorant? I have, and it’s disheartening. How do you let someone know what they are saying is factually incorrect without seeming like a know-it-all? How do you have a meaningful discussion with someone who is somehow deluded? It’s pretty tough and I hate sounding like some big ego-maniac, but when I know someone’s wrong, it frustrates me when others agree with them, somehow believing that power is in numbers — that facts are deemed factual by the number of people willing to believe them. It’s pretty silly, but that’s the way it works for some people. So I sit here, letting off a little steam, with a print-out of my justification — my proof that I am right — sitting beside me. I feel like some sort of pedant, but I think I’m considerably well aware of the progressive use of words in the English language, considering that’s what I study in university — languages, linguistics, semantics, morphology…… and if someone’s going to challenge my knowledge on that, my specialty, and I end up being right….. well, it’s one time when I won’t back down and just let it go. If people accuse me of being wrong, and I’m not, I must clear my name with proof.  🙂
Thanks for letting me vent.

Oh, and if you’re curious, if someone gets tutored professionally at home, by someone *other* than their parents, they are still considered to be “home-schooled.” Thanks, American Heritage Dictionary! (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=home%2Dschool)

Il ne faut pas confondre les faux pas / One mustn’t confuse the faux pas…..

“faux pas”

I noticed this curious little tidbit probably a few months ago, it resurfaced when I was in Florida, and just again today, so I thought I’d share this with you.

  I’m curious if the first people to use “faux pas” in its current sense realized they had two sets of homonyms that end up with the same overarching meaning….. quite witty if they did.  Here’s how it works:

“faux pas”:

“faux”: false
“pas”: step

= false step, misstep
 a social slip-up, blunder

“faut pas”:

shortened from “il ne faut pas” in slang
“faut”: must
“ne….. pas”: not

= [indefinite] “one” must not, “one” shouldn’t
 when used as a noun, a social blunder

  Quite witty, if that was the intention.  Oh words, how I love thee…..