Language is amazing. Single words to describe a whole concept are like cultural shorthand. Native speakers understand implicitly what is meant, but the word may have no direct translation in other languages.

A recent article in Metro (of all places) put forward these examples, among others:

backpfeifengesicht (German): a face you want to punch (I know this one, cf Keira Knightly, Cristiano Ronaldo)
taarradhim
(Arabic): a happy solution for everyone
age-otori (Japanese): to look worse after a haircut
l’esprit de l’escalier (French): thinking of a clever comeback when it is too late to deliver it
waldeinsamkeit (German): the feeling of being alone in the woods

One blog I’ve found starts with the lovely Russian word Toska, which has various shades of meaning relating to spiritual anguish. The site Better Than English is completely dedicated to words of other languages with no direct translation!

I’ve been trying to think of English equivalents, but without knowing lots of other languages it’s hard to know which words don’t translate. There must be plenty of concepts relating to the human condition that are common enough to warrant their own word, whilst being unique to British culture.

Something to do with the weather or getting very drunk, perhaps.

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