Interesting Words in Other Languages

By Alise Adornato

HB is fortunate to be comprised of students with different ethnic backgrounds and cultures. Many students speak a different language(s) at home, and some words or phrases do not directly translate to English, therefore I thought it would be interesting to garner some of these words/ phrases to celebrate our different cultures!

  • Italian:
    • Abbiocco- The state of drowsiness that follows a large meal
    • Magari- Maybe/ I wish
    • Gattara- An old woman that cares for stray cats
  • Yiddish:
    • Kibbitz = to talk (usually for a long time)
  • Greek:
    • Eros- Lust
    • Philia- A deep love for friends
    • Ludus – Playful love, referred to young lovers or children
    • Agape – Selfless love, referred to loving everyone and with acts of charity
    • Pragma- Mature and long lasting love, referred to long time relationships
    • Philautia- Love of one’s self
  • Farsi:
    • Saram Kola Gozashtan- They put a hat on my head; they tricked me
  • Polish:
    • Psia crew- Swear word that means “dog’s blood”
  • Portuguese:
    • Dindo/Dinda- Informal portuguese for godfather and godmother
  • Hebrew:
    • Sababa-  Hebrew slang for “cool” or “alright”
  • Arabic:
    • على راسي -“On my head”, is used to say “of course” in response to a favor or command.
    • كل سنة ونت – “Every year and you are peaceful”, a way of saying “happy birthday” or “happy Eid.”
    • نعيماً- You say it to someone after they get a haircut or take a shower and it’s saying “congrats on looking fresh”, and the response you give is basically “I wish you become fresh too.”
  • Russian:
    • ни пуха, ни пера – “Neither feather, nor fur!”, meaning good luck (comes from the belief that wishing for good things will bring the opposite.)
    • Сядем на дорожку – “Let’s sit down before hitting the road!” A superstition that requires everyone to briefly sit down and stay silent before heading out the door to remember important things for the journey ahead.
  • Hindi/Punjabi: 
    • ਐਤਮਾ ਕੀ ਪੁਖ- (aathma ki pukh): Your stomach is full, but you still feel like you’re hungry because you enjoy the food, you hadn’t eaten in a really long time, etc.
  • Chinese:
    • 笨蛋- “Dumb egg”, used to call someone stupid.
    • 油- “Get gas” a way of cheering someone on.
  • Spanish:
    • Transnochar – To stay up all night
    • Friolento – A person who is generally cold
  • German:
    • Naturlisch- Translates to naturally, and is used as a sassy expression.
  • Greek:
    • Meraklis – An individual possessing the ability to thoroughly enjoy; one drawn by aesthetically tasteful things or delicious food, or who goes about doing things with love and zeal.

I hope this exhibits many of the different cultures at HB and encourages you to explore other languages
and cultures!