From All Over the World, Words About Love We All Understand

Languages the world over have words for love we all seem to understand.

Love. Contrary to older notions, it’s not what makes us human. But it is one thing we all share, wherever in the world we are. The course of romantic love is one of our richest experiences, full of overwhelmingly wonderful — and sometimes painfully gut-wrenching — emotion. To listen in on names other cultures have given its moments is to experience them all over again. While Big Think has written about some of these untranslatable words before, this sweet video from the CBC is a poignant reminder of an experience we share

Romantic love comes and often goes, and each phase is as emotionally electric as the rest.

We crave those moments when the initial spark of meeting — or tiam in Farsi — leads to mamihlapinatapei, from Tierra del Fuego’s Yaghan people. It’s that moment when you both have the same idea about each other, and you think you both know it, but neither person is quite brave enough to act. There’s nothing else so simultaneously exciting and terrifying. (The Guiness Book of World Records considers “mamihlapinatapei” the most succinct word in the world.)

Ubuntu is a South-African Ndebele word with a sound that evokes the calm devotion of settled love, and it means, “I find my worth in you, and you find your worth in me.”

Sometimes, of course, love ends, and in Russian, that’s razliubit. It’s like a death has occurred, and we grieve — no tub of ice cream is safe. In Germany, they have a great word for the weight gained getting over lost love: kummerspeck. It means literally “grief bacon.”

American kummerspeck (Quinn Dombrowski)


There are so many days when it seems like we’re all so different, but we’re not. Each of these words reminds us of that because it describes something we know, no matter where we live. That all of us all over the world feel love as we do is a beautiful, powerful thing. It’s a reason for hope.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

The dos and don’ts of helping a drug-addicted person recover

How you talk to people with drug addiction might save their life.

  • Addiction is a learning disorder; it's not a sign that someone is a bad person.
  • Tough love doesn't help drug-addicted people. Research shows that the best way to get people help is through compassion, empathy and support. Approach them as an equal human being deserving of respect.
  • As a first step to recovery, Maia Szalavitz recommends the family or friends of people with addiction get them a complete psychiatric evaluation by somebody who is not affiliated with any treatment organization. Unfortunately, warns Szalavitz, some people will try to make a profit off of an addicted person without informing them of their full options.
Keep reading Show less

10 science photos that made history and changed minds

These photos of scientific heroes and accomplishments inspire awe and curiosity.

Surprising Science
  • Science has given humanity an incalculable boost over the recent centuries, changing our lives in ways both awe-inspiring and humbling.
  • Fortunately, photography, a scientific feat in and of itself, has recorded some of the most important events, people and discoveries in science, allowing us unprecedented insight and expanding our view of the world.
  • Here are some of the most important scientific photos of history:
Keep reading Show less

In a first for humankind, China successfully sprouts a seed on the Moon

China's Chang'e 4 biosphere experiment marks a first for humankind.

Image source: CNSA
Surprising Science
  • China's Chang'e 4 lunar lander touched down on the far side of the moon on January 3.
  • In addition to a lunar rover, the lander carried a biosphere experiment that contains five sets of plants and some insects.
  • The experiment is designed to test how astronauts might someday grow plants in space to sustain long-term settlements.
Keep reading Show less