all too ephemeral

Foreign Words We Could Use in English →

nevver:

  1. Kummerspeck (German)
    Excess weight gained from emotional overeating. Literally, grief bacon.
  2. Shemomedjamo (Georgian)
    You know when you’re really full, but your meal is just so delicious, you can’t stop eating it?
  3. Tartle (Scots)
    The nearly onomatopoeic word for that panicky hesitation just before you have to introduce someone whose name you can’t quite remember.
  4. Mamihlapinatapai (Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuego)
    This word captures that special look shared between two people, when both are wishing that the other would do something that they both want, but neither want to do.
  5. Backpfeifengesicht (German)
    A face badly in need of a fist.
  6. Iktsuarpok (Inuit)
    You know that feeling of anticipation when you’re waiting for someone to show up at your house and you keep going outside to see if they’re there yet?
  7. Pelinti (Buli, Ghana)
    Your friend bites into a piece of piping hot pizza, then opens his mouth and sort of tilts his head around while making an “aaaarrrahh” noise. The Ghanaians have a word for that. More specifically, it means “to move hot food around in your mouth.”
  8. Greng-jai (Thai)
    That feeling you get when you don’t want someone to do something for you because it would be a pain for them.
  9. Mencolek (Indonesian)
    You know that old trick where you tap someone lightly on the opposite shoulder from behind to fool them? The Indonesians have a word for it.
  10. Faamiti (Samoan)
    To make a squeaking sound by sucking air past the lips in order to gain the attention of a dog or child.
  11. Gigil (Filipino)
    The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is irresistibly cute.
  12. Yuputka (Ulwa)
    A word made for walking in the woods at night, it’s the phantom sensation of something crawling on your skin.
  13. Zhaghzhagh (Persian)
    The chattering of teeth from the cold or from rage.
  14. Vybafnout (Czech)
    A word tailor-made for annoying older brothers—it means to jump out and say boo.
  15. Fremdschämen (German)
    ; Myötähäpeä (Finnish)
    The kindler, gentler cousins of Schadenfreude, both these words mean something akin to “vicarious embarrassment.”
  16. Lagom (Swedish)
    Maybe Goldilocks was Swedish? This slippery little word is hard to define, but means something like, “Not too much, and not too little, but juuuuust right.”
  17. Pålegg (Norweigian)
    Sandwich Artists unite! The Norwegians have a non-specific descriptor for anything – ham, cheese, jam, Nutella, mustard, herring, pickles, Doritos, you name it – you might consider putting into a sandwich.
  18. Layogenic (Tagalog)
    Remember in Clueless when Cher describes someone as “a full-on Monet…from far away, it’s OK, but up close it’s a big old mess”? That’s exactly what this word means.
  19. Bakku-shan (Japanese)
    Or there this Japanese slang term, which describes the experience of seeing a woman who appears pretty from behind but not from the front.
  20. Seigneur-terraces (French)
    Coffee shop dwellers who sit at tables a long time but spend little money.
  21. Ya’arburnee (Arabic)
    This word is the hopeful declaration that you will die before someone you love deeply, because you cannot stand to live without them. Literally, may you bury me.
  22. Pana Po’o (Hawaiian)
    “Hmm, now where did I leave those keys?” he said, pana po’oing. It means to scratch your head in order to help you remember something you’ve forgotten.
  23. Slampadato (Italian)
    Addicted to the UV glow of tanning salons? This word describes you.
  24. Zeg (Georgian)
    It means “the day after tomorrow.” OK, we do have “overmorrow” in English, but when was the last time someone used that?
  25. Cafune (Brazilian Portuguese)
    Leave it to the Brazilians to come up with a word for “tenderly running your fingers through your lover’s hair.”
  26. Koi No Yokan (Japanese)
    The sense upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going to fall in love.
  27. Kaelling (Danish)
    You know that woman who stands on her doorstep (or in line at the supermarket, or at the park, or in a restaurant)
    cursing at her children? The Danes know her, too.
  28. Boketto (Japanese)
    It’s nice to know that the Japanese think enough of the act of gazing vacantly into the distance without thinking to give it a name.
  29. L’esprit de l’escalier (French)
    Literally, stairwell wit—a too-late retort thought of only after departure.
  30. Cotisuelto (Caribbean Spanish)
    A word that would aptly describe the prevailing fashion trend among American men under 40, it means one who wears the shirt tail outside of his trousers.
  31. Packesel (German)
    The packesel is the person who’s stuck carrying everyone else’s bags on a trip. Literally, a burro.
  32. Hygge (Danish)
    Denmark’s mantra, hygge is the pleasant, genial, and intimate feeling associated with sitting around a fire in the winter with close friends.
  33. Cavoli Riscaldati (Italian)
    The result of attempting to revive an unworkable relationship. Translates to “reheated cabbage.”
  34. Bilita Mpash (Bantu)
    An amazing dream. Not just a “good” dream; the opposite of a nightmare.
  35. Litost (Czech)
    Milan Kundera described the emotion as “a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery.”
  36. Luftmensch (Yiddish)
    There are several Yiddish words to describe social misfits. This one is for an impractical dreamer with no business sense.


"The Floor-Scrapers"Gustave Caillebotte
This piece demonstrates the gestalt principle of continuance. There are three figures, the middle of which is the most forward with the two remaining figures tilted towards him either with his whole body as seen on the left or which just his face as seen on the right. Furthermore, their arm-motions as they scrape the floor move outward toward us as viewers. Again, the emphasis is forward. This emphasis is made more prominent by the perspective lines as well. The principle of continuance aids in the concept of these workers scraping the floor for what may seem like a never-ending time period. We can see in the image that they have yet a lot more work to do and we as viewers are engaged with the painting as we imagine them continuing this mundane chore for many more hours.

I also considered the similiary principle in color of the floor-scrapers and the floor itself, though this is secondary to the idea of continuity and the work that they are doing. Regarding similarity, Caillebotte may desire to show the idea that these men have done this work so long, they are less human and more like the floor they work upon. Nonetheless, he paints them with magnificent musculature and glorifies their form in the diffused light from the window showing appreciation for a very common and lowly occupation during this time. View Larger

"The Floor-Scrapers"
Gustave Caillebotte

This piece demonstrates the gestalt principle of continuance. There are three figures, the middle of which is the most forward with the two remaining figures tilted towards him either with his whole body as seen on the left or which just his face as seen on the right. Furthermore, their arm-motions as they scrape the floor move outward toward us as viewers. Again, the emphasis is forward. This emphasis is made more prominent by the perspective lines as well. The principle of continuance aids in the concept of these workers scraping the floor for what may seem like a never-ending time period. We can see in the image that they have yet a lot more work to do and we as viewers are engaged with the painting as we imagine them continuing this mundane chore for many more hours.

I also considered the similiary principle in color of the floor-scrapers and the floor itself, though this is secondary to the idea of continuity and the work that they are doing. Regarding similarity, Caillebotte may desire to show the idea that these men have done this work so long, they are less human and more like the floor they work upon. Nonetheless, he paints them with magnificent musculature and glorifies their form in the diffused light from the window showing appreciation for a very common and lowly occupation during this time.


"Air and Water I"M.C. Escher
This piece demonstrates the gestalt principle of figure/ground. In the top half of this image, the figures are black on a white ground while the bottom half shows the opposite where the figures are white on a black ground. While Escher subtly morphs the shapes until they reach their final form of either a bird or a fish, Escher also chooses to include more and more detail as the forms progress to make the transformation even more apparent. The transformation is also able to be seen and recognized in relationship to the amount of ground space surrounding each figure. There is little ground for either the black or white figures near the center of the image but as you move to the extremes again, the figure becomes the sole figure on a large amount of space which is the ground.

"Air and Water I"
M.C. Escher

This piece demonstrates the gestalt principle of figure/ground. In the top half of this image, the figures are black on a white ground while the bottom half shows the opposite where the figures are white on a black ground. While Escher subtly morphs the shapes until they reach their final form of either a bird or a fish, Escher also chooses to include more and more detail as the forms progress to make the transformation even more apparent. The transformation is also able to be seen and recognized in relationship to the amount of ground space surrounding each figure. There is little ground for either the black or white figures near the center of the image but as you move to the extremes again, the figure becomes the sole figure on a large amount of space which is the ground.


"Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte"Georges Seurat
This piece demonstrates the gestalt principle of proximity. This painting is comprised of many dots of color placed next to each other to create figures as we see them now. This is termed pointillism and Seurat believed placing dots of pure color next to each other would allow the work to be more vibrant. We see the idea of proximity not only used at the miniscule scale of these dots and the color of these dots to separate the figures but also by the large-scale separation of the figures as they occupy their places in the park. Seurat depicts many figures who, though they appear grouped based on proximity, seem detached and alone even within their grouping. For example, the three figures in the shade on the bottom left are positioned closely together but they do not interact with each other, nor are they looking at each other. The same is true for the two mother and daughter groupings at the center, and the two prominent figures on the left. The figures with the most interaction, in fact, seem to be the animals at the bottom of the image - particularly the monkey and the brown dog who appear to be leaving their proximity grouping and joining the other black dog. View Larger

"Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte"
Georges Seurat

This piece demonstrates the gestalt principle of proximity. This painting is comprised of many dots of color placed next to each other to create figures as we see them now. This is termed pointillism and Seurat believed placing dots of pure color next to each other would allow the work to be more vibrant. We see the idea of proximity not only used at the miniscule scale of these dots and the color of these dots to separate the figures but also by the large-scale separation of the figures as they occupy their places in the park. Seurat depicts many figures who, though they appear grouped based on proximity, seem detached and alone even within their grouping. For example, the three figures in the shade on the bottom left are positioned closely together but they do not interact with each other, nor are they looking at each other. The same is true for the two mother and daughter groupings at the center, and the two prominent figures on the left. The figures with the most interaction, in fact, seem to be the animals at the bottom of the image - particularly the monkey and the brown dog who appear to be leaving their proximity grouping and joining the other black dog.


"Dark Cakes and Pies"Wayne Theibaud
This piece demonstrates the gestalt principle of similarity. Because all of the cakes and pies in this image are equidistant from each other, proximity is secondarily, if at all, used. We rely on the similarity of the different desserts to group them in their respective types. The similiarity of the cakes and pies allows us to perceive rows of these images which would still hold true even if the shelves were removed. I feel like this uniformity speaks to our consumerism and the vast amount of choices we have each day. Thiebaud choosing to name this piece Dark Cakes and Pies may not only allude to the color choice but also the darkness of greed and gluttony that our culture has grown accustomed to.
Furthermore, the value scale used in this piece is one of very high contrast, using values from both extremes of light and dark grays with none in between. This value scale choice emphasizes the extreme mood of perhaps drama or brooding emotion that may accompany the decision to purchase a sweet and unhealthy treat!

"Dark Cakes and Pies"
Wayne Theibaud

This piece demonstrates the gestalt principle of similarity. Because all of the cakes and pies in this image are equidistant from each other, proximity is secondarily, if at all, used. We rely on the similarity of the different desserts to group them in their respective types. The similiarity of the cakes and pies allows us to perceive rows of these images which would still hold true even if the shelves were removed. I feel like this uniformity speaks to our consumerism and the vast amount of choices we have each day. Thiebaud choosing to name this piece Dark Cakes and Pies may not only allude to the color choice but also the darkness of greed and gluttony that our culture has grown accustomed to.

Furthermore, the value scale used in this piece is one of very high contrast, using values from both extremes of light and dark grays with none in between. This value scale choice emphasizes the extreme mood of perhaps drama or brooding emotion that may accompany the decision to purchase a sweet and unhealthy treat!


This piece by Lee Price shows symmetry across the horizontal axis. The bird’s eye view allows us to see the bilateral symmetry of the figure with both arms visible. This is complemented by the items immediately in front of her on the table which occupy either side of her, as well as the two empty chairs. There are obvious deviations to the symmetry as made obvious by the floor tiling and the banana placement, however, the placement of the fruit bowl in relation to the figure’s head - in size and shape as well - helps to secure the feeling of symmetry even more. View Larger

This piece by Lee Price shows symmetry across the horizontal axis. The bird’s eye view allows us to see the bilateral symmetry of the figure with both arms visible. This is complemented by the items immediately in front of her on the table which occupy either side of her, as well as the two empty chairs. There are obvious deviations to the symmetry as made obvious by the floor tiling and the banana placement, however, the placement of the fruit bowl in relation to the figure’s head - in size and shape as well - helps to secure the feeling of symmetry even more.


By Michael ReedyThis is my example of asymmetry since the figure significantly leans to one side more than the other. The drawing is balanced, however, in that while she leans to the left, her gaze is to the right. Furthermore, the brightest space is her body at the center of the image while her dark shadow is equally balanced with the dark corner on the right. The shape of the right hand shadow also creates a point of interest as it intersects with the wall, making an imaginary triangle which keeps up movement around the whole image - not allowing any edge to be heavier than another. View Larger

By Michael Reedy

This is my example of asymmetry since the figure significantly leans to one side more than the other. The drawing is balanced, however, in that while she leans to the left, her gaze is to the right. Furthermore, the brightest space is her body at the center of the image while her dark shadow is equally balanced with the dark corner on the right. The shape of the right hand shadow also creates a point of interest as it intersects with the wall, making an imaginary triangle which keeps up movement around the whole image - not allowing any edge to be heavier than another.