Category: Word of the Week

Word of the Week – L’esprit de l’escalier – French

Yes, I know I haven’t had a WOTW for a couple of weeks… but this week I’ve actually remembered. Our phrase is nice and poetic – and it’s French so it sounds classy. L’esprit de l’escalier is a phrase used when you think of something perfect to say in a situation, just too late. You might be having an argument, and later you think of the perfect comeback (but sadly, the moment has passed).


Word of the Week #8 – maliënkolder – Dutch

This week’s WOTW is  maliënkolder – and means chain mail in Dutch. I realise this might not immediately strike you as the most useful word in the world, but if you ever find yourself in the middle of a battle-ground in medieval Holland, you’ll be glad you knew it.

Word of the Week #7 – kamel leopard – Ancient Greek

Okay so to be fair to me, this can’t really be transliterated. But it’s a super cool word: the Ancient Greeks didn’t have a name for what we call the giraffe. So they named them kamel leopards – they thought giraffes were a cross between a camel and a leopard. Not that stupid, actually…


PS – another interesting fact: when you type “camel leopard” into Google, the first thing that comes up is the Wikipedia page for the giraffe (don’t ask me how I know this)

Word of the Week #6 – Güle güle kullan – Turkish

I can’t think of any phrase in the English language equivalent to ‘güle güle kullan’.

Your friend might say it to you if you bought yourself a new shirt and it literally translates as, ‘use it smilingly’.
It’s pronounced, goo-LAY goo-LAY koo-LAN. By itself, ‘güle güle’ means ‘good bye’. Exacting as the Turkish language is, you have to be the person staying behind to say, ‘güle güle!’

Word of the Week #4 – dia ghuit – Gaelic

Just under half the population of Ireland speak Irish Gaelic to an extent – it’s a compulsory subject in schools. However, only a very small percentage of people there speak Gaelic fluently as a first language (it’s estimated to be 3% of the population).
Pronounced dee-a gwit, this Irish greeting means literally ‘God be with you’. When someone says it to you, the reply is, interestingly, ‘Mary be with you’.

– Aine