Unlease your Ātman: Positive Lexiography

Are you suffering from Yūgen (幽玄) after a new year’s festivities? Perhaps have a sense of Wu (無) since you have no Abhisar (अभिमान) to keep. Maybe you can spend your new year’s day with your Ah-un (阿吽) seeking Anand (آنَنْد) which might be found in Asabiyyah (عصبية), through Bricolage or Bayanihan, being in you Cynefin, or living Erlebnis. Did any of this make sense? If not, check out the Positive Lexiography and expand your vcoabularly. This online dictionary gathers unique words from around the world focusing on poistive aspirations and interactions. Unlease your Ātman (आत्मन्) and give up Avos (авось).

As the sihalese say: “Ayubowan (ආයුබෝවන්)”

You can read the story of the project here






Duša (душа) (Russian): one’s inner heart and soul.






(German): living fully, experiencing life deeply and intensely in the here and now.


Eros (ἔρως) (Greek, n.): desire; romantic, erotic, passionate love.


Estağfurullah (Turkish, injunction): lit. ‘may God grant me mercy’; used to express ‘don’t mention it’ (e.g., in response to receiving praise). 


Estrenar (Spanish, v.): to use or wear something for the first time.


Eudaimonia (ευδαιμονία) (Greek, n.): lit. ‘good spirit’; fulfilment, flourishing, being infused with divine grace.


S’entendre (French, v.): to hear each other, to get on, to understand one another.


Exaucer (French, v.): to grant/fulfil a wish.






Famn (Swedish, n.): the area/space within two arms, e.g., ‘in my arms’.


Fanaa (فناء) (Arabic): ‘annihilation’ of the ego, leading to enlightenment and union with God.


Fargin (Yiddish, n.): ungrudging and overt (expressed) pride and happiness at other’s successes.


Farhat (فَرْحَت) (Urdu, n.): joy, delight.


Feestvarken (Dutch, n.): lit. party pig, i.e., someone in whose honour a party is thrown.


Feierabend (German, n.): festive mood at the end of a working day.


Fēng yùn (風韻) (Chinese): personal charm and graceful bearing.


Fernweh (German, n.): the ‘call of faraway places,’ homesickness for the unknown.


Fiambre (Spanish, n.): food prepared for (in recognition of) the dead (e.g., on the Day of the Dead)


Filoxenia (Φιλοξενία) (Greek, n.): love of strangers/guests; a hospitable act of welcome.


Fingerspitzengefühl (German, n.): ‘fingertip feeling,’ the ability to act with tact and sensitivity. 


F/pirgun (פירגון) (Hebrew, n.): ungrudging and overt (expressed) pride and happiness at other’s successes.


Fitra (فطرة) (Arabic): an innate purity and closeness to God.


Fjellvant (Norwegian) (adj.): Being accustomed to walk in the mountains.


Flâner (French, v.): leisurely strolling the streets.


Flâneur (French, n.): someone who wanders the streets to experience the city.


Forelsket (Norwegian, n.): the euphoric act/feeling of falling in love.


Fremdschämen (German, n.): vicarious embarassment/shame; a cringing feeling.


Frimousse (French, n.): a sweet/cute little face.


Frisson (French, n.): a sudden feeling of thrill, combining fear and excitement.


Friluftsliv (Norwegian): living in tune with nature.


Fukinsei (不均整) (Japanese, n.): natural / sponteneous asymmetry or irregularity.






Ganbaru (頑張る) (Japanese, v.): lit. ‘to stand firm’; to do one’s best.


Geborgenheit (German, n.): feeling protected and safe from harm.


Gemilut hasadim (Yiddish, n.): acts of loving-kindness.


Genki (元気) (Japanese): being healthy, energetic, and full of life.


Gezellig (Dutch, adj.): cosy, warm, intimate, enjoyable.  


Gemütlich (German, adj.): cosy, homely, comfortable.


Gemütlichkeit (German, n.): a feeling of comfort, cosiness, homeliness.


Gestalt (German, n.): an overall pattern / configuration, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.


Gigil (Tagalog, n.): the irresistible urge to pinch/squeeze someone because they are loved or cherished.


Giri (義理) (Japanese, n.): duty, obligation, a debt of honour.


Gjensynsglede (Norwegian, n.) The joy of meeting someone you haven’t seen in a long time.


Glasnost (гла́сность) (Russian, v.): to engage in open discussion, relationships and/or governance.


Goesting (Dutch, n.): desire, passion, craving, also implying togetherness, satisfaction, tenderness, etc.


Gökotta (Swedish, n.): lit. ‘early-morning cuckoo’, waking up early to hear the first birds sing.


Goraikou (御来光) (Japanese, n.): lit. ‘sacred delivery of light; e.g., sunlight seen from top of mt. Fuji.


Gotong royong (Indonesian, n.): mutual aid/endeavour; the collective pursuit of a task.


Grok (English, new coinage, v.): to understand so thoroughly that observer becomes part of the observed.


Guān xì (關係) (Chinese, n.): a build-up of relationships and good social karma.


Gula (Spanish, n.): gluttony, indulgence, the desire to eat simply for the taste.


Gumusservi (Turkish, n.): the glimmering that moonlight makes on water.


Gunnen (Dutch, v.): to think that someone deserves something (good); to feel happy for them getting it.


Guru (গূরূ) (Bengali, n.): brotherly affection, with a sense of admiration.


Guru (गुरु) (Sanskrit, n.): a religious /spiritual teacher, guide, master, and/or person of reverence.






Habseligkeiten (German, n.): blessed, precious belongings (as in one’s most treasured possessions).


Hachnasat orchim (Yiddish/Hebrew, n.): ‘bringing in guests’; offering hospitality and respect to strangers.


Hahn (한) (Korean, n.): sorrow, regret, patiently waiting for amelioration.


Harikoa (Māori, n.): joyful, euphoric, delighted, exuberant, elated, thrilled, ecstatic, jubilant.


Harsha (हर्श) (Sanskrit, n.): joy, delight or excitement associated with some external event.


Hedersmann (Norwegian) (noun): An honest man with great integrity.


Heimat (German, n.): deep-rooted fondness towards a place to which one has a strong feeling of belon


Heimlich (German, adj.): cosy, homely, secure (yet also, paradoxically, can mean sinister and uncanny).


Herrliche Gefühle (German, n.): glorious feelings.


Hiraeth (Welsh, n.): longing for one’s homeland, with nostalgia and wistfulness.


Hugfanginn (Icelandic) (adj.): lit. ‘mind-captured’, to be charmed or fascinated by someone/something.


Hygge (Danish/Norwegian) (n.): a deep sense of place, warmth, friendship, and contentment.


Hyggelig (Danish/Norwegian) (adj.): enjoyable, warm, friendly, pleasant.






Ikigai (生き甲斐) (Ikigai): a ‘reason for being,’ the sense that its worthwhile to continue living.


Iktsuarpok (Inuit, n.): anticipation one feels when waiting for someone, and keeps checking if they’re arriving.


Inuuqatigiittiarniq (Inuit, n.): being respectful of all people.


Ilunga (Tshiluba): being ready to forgive a first time, tolerate a second time, but never a third time.


Imandari (الإستقامة) (Arabic, n.): ‘righteousness,’ cultivating good words and deeds.


Insha-Allah (إِن شَاءَ اَللّٰه) (Arabic, v.): God willing (‘may Allah wish it’), a hopeful wish. 


Ishq (عشق) (Arabic, n.): true, all-consuming love.






Jaksaa (Finnish, v.): to have energy, enthusiasm, and spirit (e.g., for a task).


Janteloven (Norwegian/Danish, n.): a set of rules which discourages individualism in communities.​


Jeong/jung (정) (Korean, n.): deep affection, affinity, connectedness (may or may not be romantic).


Joie de vivre (French): zest for life, the knack of knowing how to live.


Jouissance (French, n.): physical or intellectual pleasure, delight, or ecstasy.


Jugaad (जुगाड) (Hindi, n.): the ability to ‘make do’ or ‘get by’; a ‘hack’ or improvisation.






Kæk (Danish, n.): someone who is bold, cocky (not in a pejorative sense), and with a gung-ho spirit.


Kairos (καιρός) (Greek, n.): the opportune, ideal, ‘supreme’ moment for decision or action.


Kaizen (改善) (Japanese, n.): gradual, incremental (and often continuous) improvement.


Kanso (簡素) (Japanese, n.): elegant simplicity, an attractive absence of clutter.


Kanyirninpa (Pintupi, v.): lit. ‘to hold’, connoting an intimate and active relationship between carer and caree.


Kào pǔ (靠譜) (Chinese): someone who is reliable, responsible, and to do things without causing problems.


Karma (कर्म) (Sanskrit; kamma in Pali, n.): causality with respect to ethical behaviour.


Karuṇā (करुणा) (Sanskrit; Karuṇā in Pali, n.): empathy, compassion, identifying with the other’s suffering.


Kayf (کیف) (Urdu, n.): merriment, revelry.


Kefi (κέφι) (Greek, n.): joy, passion, enthusiasm, high spirits, frenzy.


Kekau (Indonesian, n.): regaining consciousness and returning to reality after a nightmare. 


Kenopsia (English, new coinage, n.): the strange eerieness of empty or abandoned places.


Kenshō (見性) (Japanese): temporary ‘glimpse’ of awakening and enlightenment.


Klexos (English, new coinage, n.): the art of dwelling on the past.


Koev halev (כואב הלב) (Hebrew, n.): empathy, compassion, identifying with the other’s suffering.


Kilig (Tagalog, n.): feeling of butterflies arising from interacting with someone one loves or finds attractive.


Kintsugi (金継ぎ) (Japanese): literally, ‘golden joinery’ (the art of repairing broken pottery using gold), metaphorically meaning to render our flaws and  fault-lines beautiful and strong.


Koi no yokan (恋の予感) (Japanese, n.): the feeling on meeting someone that falling in love will be inevitable.


Koko (枯高) (Japanese, n.): weathered beauty, austere sublimity. 


Kokoro (心) (Japanese): heart and mind (and even spirit) combined.


Kokusaijin (国際人) (Japanese, n.): lit. an ‘international person’; someone who is cosmopolitan, flexible, and open-minded. 


Kombinować (Polish): working out an unusual solution to a problem, acquiring skills in the process.


Koromebi (木漏れ日) (Japanese, n.): dappled sunlight filtering through leaves.


Konfliktfähigkeit (German): the ability to manage interpersonal conflict constructively, without becoming personally involved.


Koselig (Norwegian) (adj.): cosy, snug, warm, intimate, enjoyable. 


Кохаю (кохать) (Ukranian, n.): passionate, intimate, romantic love.


Koyaanisqatsi (Hopi, n.): nature out of balance; a state of affairs (e.g., dysfunctional) that calls for another way of living.


Kreng-jai (Thai, n.): ‘deferential heart,’ the wish to not trouble someone by burdening them.


Kukelure (Norwegian, v.): to sit and ponder, without engaging in activity.


Kvell (Yiddish, v.): to feel strong and overt (expressed) pride and joy in someone’s successes.






La’asot chaim (לעשות חיים) (Hebrew, v.): ‘to do or to make life’; to live fully, to have a good time.


Lagom (Swedish): moderation, of doing anything to just the right degree.


Laissez-faire (French, n.): tendency/willingness to leave things to take their own course, without interfering.


Lakṣaṇas (लक्षण) (Sanskrit): ‘marks of conditioned existence’.


Lehizdangef (להזדנגף) (Hebrew, v.): to stroll along Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff (street), i.e., to have carefree fun.


Lekker (Dutch, adj.): tasty (food), relaxed, comfortable, pleasurable, sexy.


Listopad (листопад) (Russian, n.): falling leaves.


Lutalica (English, new coinage, n.): the part of your identity that doesn’t fit into categories.






Magari (Italian, adv.): maybe, hopeful wish, wistful regret, in my dreams, if only.


Mahalo (Hawaiian, n., v.): thanks, gratitude, admiration, praise, respect.


Maitrī (मैत्री) (Sanskrit; mettā in Pali, n.): loving-kindness.


Majime (真面目) (Japanese): someone reliable, responsible, and able to do things without causing problems.


Mana (Hawaiian, n.): spiritual energy / power, a sacred, impersonal force.


Mantra (मन्त्र) (Sanskrit), mind tool, a word, phrase or sound focused on in meditation.


Mamihlapinatapei (Yagán, n.): a look between people that expresses unspoken but mutual desire.


Manaakitanga (Māori, n.): hospitality, kindness, generosity, support, respect, and care for others.


Mangata (Swedish, n.): the glimmering that moonlight makes on water.


Mārga (मार्ग) (Sanskrit): a spiritual path or way.


Masarrat (مَسَرَّت) (Urdu): joy, delight.


Mazal tov (מזל טוב) (Hebrew, salutation): lit. ‘good fortune’; a blessing of health and happiness.


Mbuki-mvuki (Bantu, v.): to shed clothes to dance uninhibited.


Me yia (με γεια) (Greek, salutation): a congratulation / blessing for others.


Melmastia (مېلمستیا) (Arabic, n.): hospitality, moral obligation to offer sanctuary and respect to all visitors.


Menschlichkeit (Yiddish): being a good human being in its fullest sense.


Mерак (Serbian, n.): pleasure derived from simple joys.


Meraki (μεράκι) (Greek): ardour (in relation to one’s own actions and creations).


Milczeć (Polish, v.): to refrain from speaking (without necessarily being silent).


Mitdenken (German): the ability to think for oneself.


Míng mù (瞑目) (Chinese): to ‘die without regret,’ having lived a good life.


Mokita (Kivila, n.): a truth that everone knows but no-one talks about.


Mokusatsu (黙殺) (Japanese, v.): to ignore or keep silent (e.g., when rejecting a bargaining offer).


Mono no aware (物の哀れ) (Japanese, n.): pathos of understanding the transiency of the world and its beauty.


Morgenfrisk (Danish, adj.): feeling rested after a good night’s sleep.


Mu (無) (Japanese, n.): negative, void, nothingness, non-being; used in Buddhism to imply ‘neither yes nor no’.


Muditā (मुदिता) (Sanskrit; Muditā in Pali, n.): sympathetic/vicarious joy.


Muraqaba (مراقبة) (Arabic): Sufi meditation, ‘to watch over’ or ‘to take care of’.


Myötähäpeä (Finnish, n.): vicarious embarassment/shame; a cringing feeling.


Mysa (Swedish, v.): to get cosy, to snuggle up.  






Nachat (נחת) (Hebrew, n.): contentment/satisfaction at someone’s successes (e.g., your progeny or student).


Naches (Yiddish, n.): joyful pride in someone’s successes (e.g., your progeny or student).


Nakakahinayang (Tagalog, n.): a feeling of regret for not having used something or taken advantage of a situation.


Nakama (仲間) (Japanese, n.): best friend, close buddy, one for whom one feels deep platonic love.


Namaste (नमस्ते) (Hindi, interjection.): ‘I bow to the divine in you’.


Nam jai (น้ำใจ) (Thai, n.): lit. ‘water from the heart’, selfless generosity and kindness.


Namus (Turkish): honour, chastity, decency, and virtue.


Natsukashii (懐かしい) (Japanese, adj.): missed, precious, yearned for, ‘dear old …’.


Naz (ناز) (Urdu, n.): assurance/pride in knowing that the other’s love is unconditional and unshakable.


Að nenna (Icelandic, v.): ability or willingness to persevere through tasks that are hard or boring.


Nirvāna (निर्वाण) (Sanskrit, n.): ‘ultimate’ happiness, total liberation from suffering.


Njuta (Swedish, v.): to deeply enjoy, to profoundly appreciate.


Nodus tollens (English, new coinage, n.): when your life doesn’t make sense or fit into a neat story.


Nunchi (눈치) (Korean, n.): ‘eye-measure’; the ability to ‘read’ emotions and situations and to respond skilf.


Nyaka ন্যাকা (Bengali, adj.): coy, coquettish, feigning ignorance (often used pejoratively).






Ojalá (Spanish, v.): derivation of Insha-Allah, God willing (‘may Allah wish it’), a hopeful wish.


Ondinnonk (Iroquoian, n.): the soul’s angelic nature and innermost desires.


Ongubsy (Boro, v.): ‘to love from the heart’.

Onsay (Boro, v.): ‘to pretend to love’.


Onsra (Boro, v.): ‘to love for the last time,’ the feeling that love won’t last.


Oogstrelend (Dutch, n.): caressing the eye, i.e., attractive or appealing.


On (恩) (Japanese, n.): a feeling of moral indebtedness, relating to a favour or blessing given by others.


Opia (English, new coinage, n.): the ambiguous intensity of eye-contact.


Orenda (Huron, n.): the power of the human will to change the world in the face of powerful forces.


Orka (Swedish, v.): to have the energy for something; being enthused and spirited.


Osher (אושר) (Hebrew, n.): joy, contented happiness.


Otsukaresama (お疲れ様) (Japanese, injunction): ‘thank you for your hard work’, gratitude and appreciation.






Parea (Παρέα) (Greek, n.): informal party, revelry.


Pena ajena (Spanish, n.): vicarious embarassment/shame; a cringing feeling.


Peiskos (Norwegian, n.): lit. ‘fireplace coziness, sitting in front of a crackling fireplace enjoying the warmth.


Petrichor (English, new coinage, n.): the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil.


Þetta reddast (Icelandic, phrase): ‘it will all work out ok’ (used especially when things don’t look optimistic!).


Philia (φιλία) (Greek, n.): friendship, platonic love (e.g., based on familiarity or shared interests).


Philotimo (φιλότιμο) (Greek, n.): ‘love of honour;’ the importance of respecting and honouring friends/family.


Pihentagyú (Hungarian): ‘with a relaxed brain,’ being quick-witted and sharp.


Piliriqatigiinniq (Inuit, n.): togetherness, community spirit, working together for the common good.


Pittiarniq (Inuit, n.): loving-kindness; being kind and good.


Pius (Latin): conscientious, upright, faithful, patriotic/dutiful, respectful, righteous.


Pochemuchka (почемучка) (Russian, n.): someone who is always asking questions (perhaps too many!).


Poldermodel (Dutch, n.): consensus-based decision making.


Pole (Swahili, interjection): ‘I’m sorry for your misfortune’.


Potlatch (Chinook, n.): lit. ‘to give away’; a ceremonial feast in which possessions are given away (e.g., to enhance one’s prestige).


Prajña (प्रज्ञ) (Sanskrit): wisdom and experiential insight.


Pretoogjes (Dutch, n.): lit. ‘fun eyes’; the eyes of a chuckling person engaging in benign mischief.


Prostor (простор) (Russian, n.): spaciousness, freedom, absence of constraint.






Qì zhì (气质) (Chinese, n.): quality of character, disposition, style, charm, attractiveness, magnetism. 


Querencia (Spanish, n.): a place where one feels secure, from which one draws strength.


Queesting (Dutch, v.): to allow a lover access to one’s bed for chitchat.


Te quiero (Spanish, v.): lit. ‘I want you’; perhaps between I like you and I love you, implying tender affection.






Radarpar (Norwegian) (n.): Two people that work very well together.


Ramé (Balinese, n.): something at once chaotic and joyful.


Razljubít (разлюбить) (Russian, n.): the feeling a person has for someone they once loved.


Að redda (Icelandic, v.): to save someone or fix something in a time sensitive manner.


Retrouvailles (French, n.): lit. ‘rediscovery’; a reunion (e.g., with loved ones after a long time apart).






Sabi (寂) (Japanese, n.): lonely, desolate, aged beauty.


Sabsung (Thai, n.): being revitalised through something that livens up one’s life.


Sahar (سهر) (Arabic, n.): informal party, revelry.


Saideira (Portuguese, n.): nightcap; last drink before leaving / of the evening.


Samādhi (समाधि) (Sanskrit, Samādhi in Pali, n.): one-pointedness / unification in meditation.


Samar (سمر) (Arabic, v.): to sit together in conversation at sunset/ in the evening.


Samprajanya (संप्रज़न्ऩा) (Sanskrit; sampajañña in Pali): clear comprehension; mindfulness imbued with a sense of spiritual progress.


Santosha (संतोष) (Sanskrit, n.): contentment arising from personal interaction.


Saper vivere (Italian): the ability to handle people and situations with charm, diplomacy and verve.


Sarang (사랑) (Korean, v.): to love someone strongly.


Sarshaarii (سرشاری) (Urdu, n.): bliss, lasting contentment.


Smṛti (स्मृति) (Sanskrit; sati in Pali): mindfulness of the present moment.


Satori (悟り) (Japanese): enduring awakening and enlightenment.


Saudade (Portuguese, n.): melancholic longing, nostalgia, dreaming wistfulness.


Savoir-être (French, n.): knowing how to be and carry oneself; ‘soft’ or interpersonal skills.


Savoir-faire (French, n.): the ability to behave in a correct and confident way in different situations.


Savoir-vivre (French, n.): knowing how to live (especially elegantly); being familiar with norms and customs.


Sazaadat (سعادت) (Urdu, n.): prosperity, felicity.


Schnapsidee (German, n.): a daft / ridiculous plan thought up while drunk (generally used pejoratively).


Sehnsucht (German, n.): life longings, intense desire for alternative paths and states.

Seijaku (静寂) (Japanese, n.): silence, calm, serenity (especially in the midst of activity or chaos).


Semaphorism (English, new coinage, n.): an enigmatic, conversational hint that you have something personal to say on a subject.


Shaadmaanii (شادْمانی) (Urdu, n.): delight, pleasure.


Shemomechama (შემომეჭამა) (Georgian, v.): eating past the point of satiety due to sheer enjoyment.


Shibumi (渋味) (Japanese, n.): simple, subtle, unobtrusive and effortless beauty. 


Shinrin-yoku (森林浴) (Japanese, n.): ‘bathing’ in the forest (literally and/or metaphorically).


Shizen (自然) (Japanese, n.): naturalness, absence of pretence, contrivance, or premeditation (e.g., in art).


Siga siga (Σιγά σιγά) (Greek, adv.): slowly, slowly (i.e., being unhurried).


Sigurista (Tagalog, n.): one who would not initiate an action unless certain of obtaining the desired result.


Simcha (שמחה) (Hebrew, n.): bliss, contentment.


Simpatía (Spanish, n.): accord and harmony within relationships and/or society.


Sisu (Finnish, n.): extraordinary determination in the face of adversity.


Sitzfleisch (German, n.): ‘sit meat,’ ability or willingness to persevere through tasks that are hard or boring


Sobremesa (Spanish, n.): when the food has finished but the conversation is still flowing.


Socha (English, new coinage, n.): the hidden vulnerability of others.


Sólarfrí (Icelandic) (n.): sun holiday, i.e., when workers are granted unexpected time off to enjoy a particularly sunny/warm day.


Soler (Spanish): to be in the habit of doing something.


Sonder (English, new coinage, n.): the realization that everyone has a life as vivid and complex as your own).


Sprezzatura (Italian): nonchalance, art and effort are concealed beneath a studied carelessness.


Stehaufmännchen (German, n.): lit. a roly-poly toy, used for someone who always bounces back.


Storge (στοργή) (Greek, n.): filial love; care and affection (e.g., between family members).


Suaimhneas croi (Gaelic, n.): happiness / contentment on finishing a task.


Sumud (صمود) (Arabic, n.): steadfastness, a determined struggle to persist.


Sukha (सुख) (Sanskrit, n.): stable and lasting happiness (not dependent upon conditions).


Sunao (素直) (Japanese): meek, docile and submissive (in a positive, deferential way).


Sūnyatā (शून्यता) (Sanskrit): emptiness (phenomena come into being dependent upon conditions).


Sutra (सुट्टा) (Sanskrit, Sutta in Pali, n.): lit. ‘thread’, aphorism, discourse, teaching (in Buddhism or Jainism).


Suwaad (سُواد) (Urdu, n.): pleasure.


Szimpatikus (Hungarian): a decent human being.






Taarradhin (تراض) (Arabic, n.): a positive agreement/solution/compromise where everbody wins.


Ta’ârof (تعارف) (Farsi, n.): politeness, social intelligence (e.g., in relation to receiving/offering hospitality/gifts).


Talanoa (Fijian Hindi, v.): to tell stories / to gossip (in ways that serve as a ‘social adhesive’).


Talko (Swedish, n.): a collectively pursued/undertaken task; voluntary community work.


Talkoot (Finnish, n.): a collectively pursued/undertaken task; voluntary community work.


Tao (道) (Chinese): all-powerful and pervasive power, path or way.


Tarab (طرب) (Arabic, n.): musically-induced ecstasy or enchantment.


Tarbiya (تربية”) (Arabic, n.): on-going moral/ethical and spiritual development.


Tathāgatagarbha (गर्भतथागत) (Sanskrit): Buddha nature.


Tazkiah (تزكية) (Arabic): purification of the self, purity and submission to Allah.


Tertulia (Spanish, n.): a social gathering with literary or artistic overtones.


Thróisma (θρόισμα) (Greek, n.): sound of wind rustling through trees.​


Tîeow (เที่ยว) (Thai, v.): to wander or roam around in a carefree way.


Tilfreds (Danish, n.): contentment, at peace.


Tithadesh (תתחדש) (Hebrew, interjection): lit. ‘get new’; salutation given to someone who has acquired a nice new possession or change in circumstances.


Tjotjog (Javanese, v.): ‘to fit’, accord and harmony within relationships and/or society.


Toska (тоска) (Russian, n.): longing for one’s homeland, with nostalgia and wistfulness.


Tripti (तृप्ति) (Sanskrit, n.): satisfaction of sensual pleasures.


Trygghet (Swedish, n.): security, safety, confidence, certainty, trust.


Tuko pamoja (Swahili, n.): lit. ‘one place’; ‘we are together’, community togetherness.


Tyvsmake (Norwegian, v.): to taste or eat small pieces of the food when you think nobody is watching, especially when cooking. 


Tzedaka (Yiddish, n.): generosity/charity (mandated by justice), required righteous giving.






Ubuntu (Nguni Bantu, n.): being kind to others on account of one’s common humanity.


Uitwaaien (Dutch, v.): lit. ‘to walk in the wind’; to go out into the countryside (e.g., clear one’s head).


Ukiyo (浮世) (Japanese, n.): ‘floating world,’ living within transient moments of fleeting beauty.


Ullassa (उल्लास) (Sanskrit, n.): feelings of pleasantness associated with natural beauty.


Umami (うま味) (Japanese, n.): a rich, pleasant, savoury taste.


Uitbuiken (Dutch, v.): lit. ‘outbellying’; to relax satiated between courses or after a meal.


Utepils (Norwegian, n.): a beer that is enjoyed outside (particularly on the first hot day of the year).






Víðsýni (Icelandic) (adj.): a panoramic view, or, open-mindedness.


Vipāka (विपाक) (Sanskrit, Vipāka in Pali, n.): the result, ripening or maturation of karma.


Vivencias (Spanish, n.): living fully, experiencing life deeply and intensely in the here and now.


Volta (βόλτα) (Greek, n.): a leisurely stroll/turn/walk in the the streets.


Vorfreude (German, n.): intense, joyful anticipation derived from imagining future pleasures.


Voorpret (Dutch, n.): lit. ‘pre-fun’; the sense of pleasurable anticipation before a looked-forward-to event.






Wabi (侘) (Japanese, n.): imperfect, rustic, remote, weathered beauty.


Wabi-sabi (侘寂) (Japanese, n.): imperfect and aged beauty, a ‘dark, desolate sublimity’.


Whakakoakoa (Māori, v.): to cheer up.


Waldeinsamkeit (German, n.): mysterious feeling of solitude when alone in the woods.


Wanderlust (German, n.): desire/prediliction for travel and adventure.


Weltanschauung (German, n.): an overarching/all-encompassing worldview or philosophy of life.


Won (원) (Korean, n.): reluctance to give up an illusion.


Wu (無) 


Love of learning…on overdrive

You can learn in many ways, from school to lectures, to conversation or experiences….all are valid. One of most accessible and popular is simply reading books. Ralph Waldo Emerson suggest that “If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.” Whil a book should expand our intellect, what we think about. You should move off the best seller lists and pick up some obscure titles for, as Haruki Murakami reminds us, “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” But, you need to process it, you need to make it your own thinking. “Keep reading books, but remember that a book is only a book,” reminds Maxim Gorky, “and you should learn to think for yourself.” And it in thinking for yourself, you write your own meaning, which is the essence of reading according to  W. Somerset Maugham: “The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you.” As you construct your own meaning, your soul grows or so it would seem to Marcus Tullius Cicero who observed that “A room without books is like a body without a soul.” 

Some of us are obsessed by books, as Henry Ward Beecher warned: “Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?” and Jorge Luis Borges confessed that “I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books.” For people like us, the week and sleepless, we horde books like misers do gold. And the Japanese have a word for us: Tsundoku

The word dates back to the very beginning of modern Japan, the Meiji era (1868-1912) and has its origins in a pun. Tsundoku, which literally means reading pile, is written in Japanese as 積ん読. Tsunde oku means to let something pile up and is written 積んでおく. Some wag around the turn of the century swapped out that oku(おく) in tsunde oku for doku (読) – meaning to read. Then since tsunde doku is hard to say, the word got mushed together to form tsundoku.

It strikes me that people strong in Love of Learning or Curiosity may well experiecne this phenomenon more that people of other character strengths.  I agree with Frank Zappa “So many books, so little time.” 


And just spotted this one to continue with the theme:



What parents really want for their children

What do you think parents want more for their children?

  • Be happy in life
  • Lead a healthy lifestyle
  • Earn enough to enjoy a comfortable life
  • Be successful in their career
  • Fulfil their potential 


According to a survey of over 5000 parents in 16 countries by banking great HSBC, 64% want happiness. Parents were asked to pick their top three, in rank order. HSBC then breaks it out by country:

Q: What are the three most important goals that you want your child to achieve as an adult?

More individualist socieites emphasized happiness. I personally am surprised to se China rank so high on lifestyle and so low on earning enough to have a comfortable life. Not sure what to make of this other than people in developing nations who have an HSBC bank account probably already have a comfortable life that they intend to pass onto their children. How does this compare to the UN Happy country index?

So ambition may not represent current reality, but hope can be a powerful motivator. 


arbejdsglæde vs karoshi

Would you rather be Happy at Work or Worked to death?

Denmark, often ranked as one of happiest place on earth and one of the best countries to live on subscribe to arbejdsglæde, a Danish word meaning Happy at Work. Alexander Kjerulf explains, “ there is a word for it in Danish because Danish workplaces have a long-standing tradition of wanting to make their employees happy. To most Danes, a job isn’t just a way to get paid; we fully expect to enjoy ourselves at work.” . 

The Japanese, to contrast, have karoshi,  meaning to work oneself to death.  I first encountered karoshi during a  screening of Happy, the Movie. But the term first entered the Japanese lexicon in 1969 and gained popularity of usage in the 1980’s. The Chinese have a similiar term, guolaosi, as do the Koreans, gwarosa.

The Japan Times notes “A growing body of evidence indicates that workers in high-demand situations who have little control of their work and low social support are at increased risk of developing and dying of cardiovascular disease, including myocardial infarction and stroke. Stressful work conditions are a critical component of this phenomenon.” The International Labor Organization profiles some typical cases:

Here are some typical cases of Karoshi:

  1. Mr A worked at a major snack food processing company for as long as 110 hours a week (not a month) and died from heart attack at the age of 34. His death was approved as work-related by the Labour Standards Office.
  2. Mr B, a bus driver, whose death was also approved as work-related, worked more than 3,000 hours a year. He did not have a day off in the 15 days before he had stroke at the age of 37.
  3. Mr C worked in a large printing company in Tokyo for 4,320 hours a year including night work and died from stroke at the age of 58. His widow received a workers’ compensation 14 years after her husband’s death.
  4. Ms D, a 22 year-old nurse, died from a heart attack after 34 hours’ continuous duty five times a month.

Happily, things are changing as lawsuits are forcing companies to change their ways least they be responsible for unlawful death payments. 

So how to pursue arbejdsglæde?

Check out the arbejdsglæde website for specific examples and tips. 

Inspiring wonder

While she was denied at not one art school but six, she never let it discourage her as she spent the next 10 years painting. Janet Echelman has an extraordinary career:

Echelman first set out to be an artist after graduating college. She moved to Hong Kong in 1987 to study Chinese calligraphy and brush-painting. Later she moved to Bali, Indonesia, where she collaborated with artisans to combine traditional textile methods with contemporary painting.

When she lost her bamboo house in Bali to a fire, Echelman returned to the United States and began teaching at Harvard. After seven years as an Artist-in-Residence, she returned to Asia, embarking on a Fulbright lectureship in India.

Her Ted talk installs a sense of wonder:

You can her Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence call out as she leverages her Creativity, perseverance and Curiosity.

Where is the besets, happiest schools?

Singapore of course!

Well, at least according to Buzzfeed, who compared test scores and happy student score:

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s triennial international survey compared test scores from 65 countries. Happiness was ranked based on the percentage of students who agreed or disagreed with the statement “I feel happy at school.” Test scores were ranked based on the combined individual rankings of the students’ math, reading, and science scores.


Personally I question the results. 

A bit of linguistic fun for the holiday season

Making its way around the social networks is a lingustic exam that tests your accent. 

I wish there was a word for that…

An absolutely fabulous set of words that have no exact equivalent in English.

Art makes us happier

Soul Pancake explores how art inspires hapiness

This is based on a study

The Greater Good Society profiles seven artist’s perspectivse on why we make art. 

Strengths Mined: Creativity, Appreciation of Beauty, Capacity to love and be loved, Authenticity,

  • I make art for a few reasons. In life, we experience so much fragmentation of thought and feeling. For me, creating art brings things back together.
  • I like expressing emotions—to have others feel what it is I’m feeling when I’m photographing people.
  • I make art primarily because I enjoy the process. It’s fun making things.

While most of us are not artists, not in the sense of making a living in things, I suspect most of us can relate to the sentiments described. Indeed art is important. A London School of Economic researcher found it to be among the MOST important things in making us happy:  Of the top six most happiness-inducing activities, again after sex and exercise, the other four are all arts-related They are, in descending order:


1)      Intimacy/making love
2)      Sports/running/exercise
3)      Theatre/dance/concert
4)      Singing/performing
5)      Exhibition/museum/library
6)      Hobbies/arts/crafts


Want to join the research? Download Mappiness app and follow the directions.


Be Sure to Check out Julian’s efforts and funnyy story

Happiest places

Article out today at the Huffington Post explores the happies states (“based on results from a study of geotagged tweets published earlier this year in PLoS ONE by researchers at the University of Vermont.”) It follows up with an index of happy countries.