“What Words Best Describe a Good Relationship?”
Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 14:11
He Said: “I think the simplest answer is communication. I think communication is a basis for a good relationship,” Sean-Tom Garry, senior majoring in civil engineering, said.
She Said: “Trust, honesty, communication and devotion to each other,” Sammi Baierl, a freshman majoring in architecture, said.
Thousands of terms have emerged over the years to describe grand moments in relationships: butterflies, love at first sight, head over heels, unrequited love, swept off your feet, puppy dog love, infatuation, etc. According to oxforddictionaries.com, the English language contains, at the minimum (since the language constantly changes) 250,000 distinct English words. Yet sometimes, we still come up short when it comes to describing love. Luckily, other languages around the world have created terms to perfectly describe certain instances.
These words cannot be directly translated into English; however, the situations they describe are universal. So if you ever come across a situation where you are having trouble explaining yourself to a significant other, refer to the list below.
Mamihlapinatapei (Yagan): The meaningful although wordless gaze two people share when they want to initiate something, but are both hesitant to begin. This term defines the moment when neither person has found the courage to make the first move. While we may call it “sexual tension,” it is not purely sexual; instead, it is the desire to begin a deeper relationship with the other person—you are currently just too chicken.
Yuanfen (Chinese): A fated or destined relationship. This concept is hard to fathom. In daily usage, it describes the “binding force” connecting two people in any relationship. The hard part is that “fate” does not hold the same meaning as “destiny.” So even if you are fated to marry a Victoria’s Secret model or Ryan Gosling, it may not happen.
Cafuné (Brazilian Portugeuse): This one word describes the entire act of running your fingers tenderly through someone’s hair.
Retrouvailles (French): The joyous feeling of seeing someone after a long parting. Couples everywhere try to do long distance, and sometimes, this one moment can make it all worth it. English has no equivalent; leave it to the Romantic French to find the perfect term.
La Douleur Exquise (French): The pain of desiring someone you cannot have. While this term is similar to unrequited love, it is not exactly the same. This phrase explains a state of mind, while unrequited love is a state of a relationship. To further explain, unrequited love would be when you have a mad crush on your professor, and he or she knows about it and is not reciprocating. The French term specifically describes the emotional heartache you feel when your love is not reciprocated.
Ya’aburnee (Arabic): Simply, it means “you bury me.” If you use this term, it basically means you hope that the other person will die before you, because you cannot live without them. While we would actually say “I cannot live without you,” this word combines the entire concept into one meaningful term.
Forelsket (Norwegian): The euphoric feeling of first falling in love. Surprisingly, one single word does not exist in the English language to explain this feeling. We use cliché phrases and explanations, but have nothing to capture the wonderful moment. Lucky for us, Norwegians have it covered.
The next time you want to cut down on wordiness or sound suave and sophisticated, feel free to throw in a foreign word if you cannot enunciate exactly how you feel. You will never be “at a loss for words” again.
Next week’s question:
“How do you make a long distance relationship work out?”
Have an answer? Email it plus your name, major and year in school, to firstname.lastname@example.org