Translating the Untranslatable

In Oth­er Words: A Lan­guage Lover’s Guide to the Most Intrigu­ing Words Around the World

Lin­guist Christo­pher J. Moore has made a career of search­ing out some of the world’s most “untrans­lat­able” expressions—words from around the globe that defy an easy trans­la­tion into Eng­lish. Moore shares a few of his lin­guis­tic favorites from his new book In Oth­er Words: A Lan­guage Lover’s Guide to the Most Intrigu­ing Words Around the World with Renee Montagne.

Def­i­nite­ly one for the wish list!

fae­bouche, one of the terms is familiar

esprit de I’escalier [es-pree de less-ka/-iay] (idiom)

A wit­ty remark that occurs to you too late, lit­er­al­ly on the way down the stairs. The Oxford Dic­tio­nary of Quo­ta­tions defines esprit de l’escalier as, “An untrans­lat­able phrase, the mean­ing of which is that one only thinks on one’s way down­stairs of the smart retort one might have made in the draw­ing room.”

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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