15 wonderful words from other languages that relate well to student life

By Emily Maybanks

Inspired by reading a book called ‘The Greeks* Had a Word For It. (*and the Russians and the Japanese and the Dutch)’ by Andrew Taylor, as well as my passion for languages, I have found 15 words from a variety of languages which accurately and amusingly relate very well to various aspects of student life at University!

  1. SCHNAPSIDEE (German) – an off-the-wall idea that comes from a drinking session.

We’ve all had some crazy ideas influenced by alcohol at some point during University.

  1. JAYUS (Indonesian) – a joke so unfunny you have to laugh.

Perhaps your lecturer or your housemate told a joke that made you laugh because it was so bad.

  1. KUMMERSPECK (German) – the weight gained through over-eating when grief-stricken.

Maybe you got a poor mark in an assignment and decided to drown your sorrows with a takeaway!

  1. FREMDSCHÄMEN (German)/PENA AJENA (Spanish)/MYÖTÄHÄPEÄ (Finnish) – the empathy felt when someone else makes a fool of him or herself.

Think of a time when your friend did something super embarrassing during a night out.

  1. IKTSUARPOK (Inuit) – the anxious and irresistible need to check whether who or what you’re waiting for has arrived yet.

To relate this to student life, I thought of when you’ve ordered food online and immediately begin to see if the delivery driver has pulled up outside yet…

  1. TARTLE (Scots) – the social faux pas of forgetting the name of the person you are introducing.

When you’re introducing one friend to another friend and forget their name.

  1. SHEMOMECHAMA (Georgian) – the embarrassing, sudden realisation that, somehow, you’ve eaten it all.

When you accidentally eat an entire packet of biscuits or an entire box of chocolates.

  1. TSUNDOKU (Japanese) – a pile of books waiting to be read.

Those textbooks that you should be reading right now instead of reading this list of fascinating words.

  1. FARPOTSHKET (Yiddish) – irreparable damage to something caused by a botched attempt to mend it.

Maybe you’ve broken something in your student accommodation and thought that it would be cheaper to mend it yourself rather than have the cost deducted from your deposit.

  1. EPIBREREN (Dutch) – unspecified activities which give the appearance of being busy and important in the workplace.

When you’re watching videos on YouTube during a lecture.

  1. DÉPAYSÉ (French) – feeling lost, like a fish out of water.

We’ve probably all felt like this at some point during University life.

  1. FERNWEH (German) – the longing or need to be far away, anywhere else.

When student life gets too much and you start looking up how much flights cost.

  1. MAFAN (Mandarin) – when it’s all too much to bother but, to your mind, not being bothered is not your fault.

Because sometimes University life is too much to bother about!

  1. ATTACCABOTTONI (Italian) – a bore whose only topic of conversation is him or herself.

We all know someone…

  1. GLAS WEN (Welsh) – literally means a “blue smile”; one that is sarcastic or mocking.

Because sometimes sarcasm is the only way to get through a day at University!


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