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Wanted: The Right Word for Everything

Do we need a word that means “to sleep on the floor without a mat, while drunk and naked”?

I ask only because the amazing Anu Garg mentioned the Tsongan word Rhwe in today’s post for A.Word.A.Day (affectionately known as AWAD).

Garg isn’t teaching us Tsongan words—the fer-real word for today is overmorrow, a shorter though not as well understood way of saying the day after tomorrow. But if you don’t follow AWAD, you might not think a handy word exists for the date two days away on your calendar.

Likewise with Rhwe. I assume it’s a verb, although I won’t try to conjugate it here. Garg pondered whether the definition is actually correct. Is there a variation for sleeping on the floor with a mat, while drunk and naked, for example?

Of course, we could even expand to other permutations depending on the existence of the mat, the drunkenness, the clothes or lack thereof and even the sleeping.

The point is, despite English’s vocabulary rich with 990,000 words, we’re still missing some words that enliven other languages. So next time you’re writing a blog post or an article, you might just sidle over to another language and borrow one, so you don’t come up short.

The word—or really, the expression—I often think English needs is the equivalent of German’s Wunchlos Glüklich. Google Translate tells me this means perfectly happy. But I’m not perfectly happy with that definition. The most direct meaning I can come up with is “wishlessly happy,” which still doesn’t quite say it …

What about you? Tell me what we need a word for in English that you’re not aware of among the 990,000 candidates.

And if you’d like to learn more about words, subscribe to A.Word.A.Day. Or to the EclipseWriter blog. You’ll gain a wonderful appreciation for English and other languages, as well as some fun cultural and historical insights.