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).
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.
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)
I can’t think of any phrase in the English language equivalent to ‘güle güle kullan’.
This is such a fantabulous word because all it means is magic. I will pretentiously be trying to drop this into as many convos as possible this week.
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’.
So nilovka doesn’t just mean awkward, it also means slightly impolite. Which could get a bit nilovka when you don’t know if someone is talking about an awkward situation or a slightly impolite situation. Somehow, the Russians seem to deal with it…