Four German Words That Do Not Exist In English (COVID-19 Edition)

It is often said that if our language does not have a word for a certain emotion, we are unable to identify it. Here are some German words that do not exist in English to expand your identifiable emotions.

1. Kummerspeck

Grief + Bacon = Greifbacon
Sadness + Flab = Sadnessflab

Not really an emotion, but important part of any lockdown.
We’ve all probably experienced times in our lives where sadness has led us to emotional eating, over the last two years as we have been locked in our homes and unable to travel to see family and friends. In these times we often turn to comforts like ice-cream, chocolate, and pizza to make the days a little more bearable. The consequence of these comforts is Kummerspeck as it describes the weight gained during times of sadness.

2. Weltschmerz

World + Pain = Worldpain

An emotion everyone has likely felt over the last two years. It’s the sadness or pain that is felt due to the acute awareness of the state of the world. It’s a true deep sadness stemming from knowledge of world problems such as illness and death, climate change, poverty or conflict. It is particularly prevalent in romantic writings of the 1860s.

3. Mutterseelenallein

Mother+Soul+Alone = Mothersoulalone

Another emotion many of us have felt during the last two years of lockdowns and separation from those we love. This is not just simply the feeling of being lonely or being alone. It’s an extreme feeling of being alone, so alone that even your mother is not there to turn to. It’s a word that provokes a sense of despair and anguish.

4. Fernweh

Distance + Pain = Distancepain

Fernweh is often confused with Wanderlust, but they are different levels of the desire to go places. Fernweh is almost a need, a pain to go somewhere that is far away. Wanderlust, on the other hand, is a desire to travel, to go on an adventure.

Please visit our Facebook page if you’d like to leave a comment and share your thoughts on German words that don’t exist in English!