Words for love that we don't have in English

But we probably should

Added on

By Caroline O'Donoghue on

Love: we talk about it constantly, we go see movies about it, we take ours to therapy to see if it's as good as it possibly can be. And yet, our vocabulary is pretty limited when it comes to talking about it. Yes, we have "affection" – but what good is that, really, when it can be used to describe what you have with both your lover and your cat. There's "passion", but I can be passionate about a jar of Nutella and a really nice pair of Pringles socks. 

Thankfully, other languages are a little more detailed when it comes to love. In Japanese, there's "Koi no yokan": the feeling you get when you meet someone and know you are destined to fall in love. Not that you've fallen in love at first sight, that would obviously be weird. Merely that you are destined to one day fall in love. I am delighted to say that I have experienced koi no yokan, but having no words for it, decided it was indigestion and didn't act on it until a year later.

Illustrator Emma Block has teamed up with Vashi to visualise the many words for love that we don't have in English, and here are some of our favourites. 

There are definitely more words for love that need to be dreamed into existence. Like, the feeling when you meet eyes with your partner and you both realise you want to leave the party you're at in favour of going home to eat toast. We could call it making a brexit – an exit with bread! 

Nevermind, maybe we should leave it to the Japanese. 


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