Every once in a while, I find a foreign word that so aptly describes a feeling or emotion, but has no English translation.
I read an article in The Guardian several weeks ago that had this paragraph:
"There is a Welsh word, hiraeth, which means something like a longing of the soul to come home to the place where your spirit lives. I’m pretty sure there is no Yorkshire term that expresses the same idea – it’s a little too lyrical for Yorkshire –but it is a word that I understand innately, and a yearning that is present in most of the characters I have ever created: home sometimes a tangible place, sometimes a psychological one." (source)
Definition: hiraeth m (uncountable)
- homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, or for a home which may have never been
- an intense form of longing or nostalgia, wistfulness
- the grief for the lost places of your past (source)
I wondered how to pronounce it and found these three similar versions. Will I ever use this word in conversation? Probably not, but I love it anyway and have added it to a list of foreign words that have no precise English synonym but which describe an emotion we all recognize.
----Hiraeth will make a great art journal entry. My mind is accumulating a number of places I've longed for over the years (and still do, of course): the porch swing at my maternal grandmother's house, the "sleeping porch" at my paternal grandparents' home, a valley filled with purple loosestrife in the Montana Rocky Mountains that enchanted my six-year-old self as I sat on a boulder looking down at the field of purple.... Wow, the list goes on and on.
How about you?