How Should You Reply If Someone Says “I Firgun for You”?

Published on June 1, 2024

Credit: Sandy Millar

Each language is its very own unique galaxy of phrases, grammar, and vocabulary . Every language is different and has its own quirks, rules, and even personalities that sometimes get lost to a non-native speaker. It could be argued that the most difficult task for a translator is being able to properly convey these tiny nuisances that truly reflect the soul of every language on Earth.

Having said that, there are hundreds of words that not even the most skilled translator would be able to communicate. We have selected ten of the strangest, most beautiful, and unique words from all around the world. And while it is true that these words have no English equivalent, we are sure that the feelings they convey are truly universal . Enjoy!



Credit: Zachary Nelson

They say that "Distance makes the heart grow fonder" and we believe that this is definitively the case. The feeling of catching up with a dear friend you haven’t seen in months, maybe years, is truly one that can’t be completely described. Luckily, the Basque language has provided us with a word that perfectly reflects this feeling, and that word is "Aspaldiko."

This word describes the happiness one feels when catching up with someone they haven’t seen in a really long time. If you ever happen to travel to the Basque Country in Spain, you might see that several restaurants and bars are named "Aspaldiko", and with good reason: What’s better than catching up with good friends over a nice meal?



Credit: Héctor J. Rivas

Ailyak is one of the most beautiful entries on this list and we could have easily started with it, but if this Bulgarian word has taught us anything is that good things can’t be rushed . Ailyak is a truly heartwarming term used to describe doing everything with calm and patience, in order to truly enjoy the experience.

What’s truly beautiful about this word is that it perfectly encapsulates two of the most common English idioms: it mixes the joy of "stopping and smelling the roses", with the unparalleled wisdom of "practice makes perfect."



Credit: Annie Spratt

So far we have focused on heartwarming, wholesome meanings, so why don’t we take on a word that might actually help you save money? Let’s say that you have a close friend who lives far away, maybe even someone who makes you feel aspaldiko when you see them. You might want to call them and chat for a bit, but your phone plan isn’t the best, or maybe you just don’t have any minutes left. Well, you might be interested in learning the subtle art of prozvonit from the good people of the Czech Republic.

In the Czech language, the word proznovit recounts the action of calling someone over the telephone, but only letting it ring once to make the other person call back, in order to save money or minutes.



Credit: Elijah Hail

Taking a long, nice walk all by yourself can be the perfect way to clear your mind from the woes of the day. Now, if you were to think about the perfect weather for taking a stroll, your mind would probably go to the clear, blue sky of a Spring day. However, if the Dutch language is to be believed, walking in cold, windy weather might be exactly what you need to clear your mind.

The Dutch expression uitwaaien means a refreshing state of mind achieved by going out in cold and windy weather. This word is usually attributed to long walks in nature , like parks or forests.



Credit: Lee Myungseong

Many tourists feel weird whenever an American waiter unpromptedly brings them the check: In most of these nations, customers usually ask for the check whenever they are done. In Spanish-speaking countries, there’s a timeless tradition behind it: the period after finishing a meal is reserved for casually chatting and relaxing with friends and family. There’s even a word for this period: Sobremesa , which literally means "over the table."

Sobremesa is a truly wonderful habit , and one we believe the whole world should embrace. That extra time after a meal can help everyone bond, listen, and learn so much more about those close to us.



Credit: Jonathan Borba

Try this word next time you are playing Scrabble . Granted, you’ll need nine Ys, but it's guaranteed to get at least 53 points! Now, if another player remains unconvinced by this eccentric Finnish word, allow us to give you its definition: it describes the joy one feels after sitting on a particularly bouncy cushion.

While it does look as if a cat walked over our keyboard, this word is actually particularly literal , since it translates to "bouncy cushion satisfaction". So, be sure to keep it in mind for the next time you sit down on a delightfully comfy couch… Especially if you are about to play a round of Scrabble.



Credit: Arturo Castaneyra

Similar to uitwaaien , the adjective flaneur involves taking long, solitary walks that broaden your mind. However, the main difference between them is that a flaneur is necessarily someone who walks around a big metropolis and carefully observes the nuances of city life.

This term was first popularized during 19th-century France, particularly in the city of Paris. Many iconic French writers described this subtle art in many of their works: Perhaps most famously, Charles Baudelaire wrote several poems about flaneurs. Curiously, the word comes from the Old Norse flana, which means "to wander around without purpose."



Credit: Brandi Alexandra

" Yaourt" or " Chanter in yaourt" is a French term that definitively is lost in translation , since its literal meaning in English would be "singing in yoghurt". And while that might sound like the low-stakes challenge of a bad game show, this expression actually involves a fun way to deal with the stress of performing.

Yaourt involves singing a song, usually in a foreign language, without fully knowing the words and compensating for it by using nonsensical sounds that vaguely resemble the lyrics to the song. If you are one of those people who don’t take karaoke too seriously, then you might want to try it next time you hit the stage.



Credit: Toni Tan

German has an (unjust, in our opinion) reputation as a harsh language: An angry, difficult menagerie of harsh sounds and unspellable words. And while German grammar can be daunting, there’s a lot of beauty to be found in the beautiful pronunciation and, perhaps more importantly for this piece, the unique meaning of some words . Case in point: the gorgeously specific word fahrvergnügen.

Fahrvergnügen describes the unique joy one feels just by simply driving around . Like sauerkraut and kindergarten , this word is well known in the United States, made famous in the 90s by a successful Volkswagen ad. Fahrvergnügen comes from the verb fahren (to drive) and vergnügen (pleasure).



Credit: Simon Maage

We’ll end this list with perhaps the most wholesome term we could find . Few feelings are as hard to describe as whenever we see someone we love achieve a major milestone in their lives. Think how you felt on graduations, promotions, and weddings of those dear to you: Don’t you think there’s some connective tissue between all the different emotions you probably felt on those events? Well, the Hebrew language believes so at least, as it has a word to describe just that.

Firgun is a Hebrew term that describes the genuine and pure happiness you might feel seeing another person’s accomplishments. This word describes joy without ulterior motives , just for the sake of seeing those you love happy and content.


In the Shadows: 10 Notable Criminal Aliases and Their Origins

Published on June 1, 2024

Credit: Ye Jinghan

Just like an artist chooses a stage name, criminals have long used aliases to instill fear and avoid capture. These pseudonyms often embody part of the essence of the individual behind the mask, or are related in some way or another to their past.

Let's delve into the stories behind these 10 infamous criminal aliases and the individuals who wielded them.



Credit: Miami Police Department

Al Capone, dubbed "Scarface" for the distinctive scar on his face, was one of America's most notorious gangsters during the Prohibition era. He earned the scar during his time in the Five Points Gang of New York. Capone insulted a woman while working in a gang-operated dance hall, only to be viciously attacked by her brother, who slashed his face with a knife. In time, his hair-raising alias became synonymous with organized crime in Chicago, where he ran speakeasies and engaged in bootlegging.


The Skyway Man

Credit: Artur Tumasjan

Frank Abagnale, an American con artist famous for his many frauds against individuals and small businesses during the ‘60s, earned the alias "The Skyway Man" for his audacious scheme of impersonating a Pan Am pilot and using his status to cash fraudulent checks without suspicion everywhere in the world. His life was later portrayed in the acclaimed Steven Spielberg film "Catch Me If You Can."



Credit: Indiana State Penitentiary

John Dillinger was a notorious bank robber during the Great Depression, known for his brazen heists and daring escapes from the police. His dangerous exploits earned him the nickname "Jackrabbit" due to his graceful movements during heists, such as leaping over the counter - something he allegedly copied from the movies. The FBI also dubbed him "Public Enemy Number One," and his larger-than-life figure epitomized the glamorization of outlaws in American folklore.


The Zodiac Killer

Credit: Nastya Dulhiier

The Zodiac Killer, an unidentified serial killer active in California during the late 1960s and early 1970s, earned his alias for his taunting letters sent to newspapers and police, filled with cryptic ciphers and threats and signed under the "Zodiac" pseudonym. Though the police identified a series of potential suspects, the killer behind the letters was never positively identified, leaving behind an enduring mystery surrounding his identity and motives.



Credit: Jean Leon Gerome Ferris

Blackbeard was the nickname of Edward Teach, a notorious English pirate who roamed the Caribbean during the early 18th century. He earned his alias for his fearsome appearance and ruthless tactics. The pirate was described as a tall man with a thick black beard, often braided into pigtails. During battles, he often stuck lighted slow matches under his hat to scare his enemies. However, despite his appearance and reputation, most historians believe that Blackbeard never murdered or harmed those he held captive.


The Teflon Don

Credit: Rob Wicks

John Gotti, a powerful Mafia boss in New York City during the 80s, earned the alias "The Teflon Don" for his ability to evade conviction despite numerous charges against him. His apparent legal invincibility was achieved by intimidating witnesses and buying jury members with the help of the Gambino crime family. However, he was eventually convicted by the FBI after a lengthy investigation, receiving life in prison without parole.


The Black Widow

Credit: Konrad Summers, CC BY-SA 2.0

Griselda Blanco, a Colombian drug lord known for her ruthlessness, earned the alias "The Black Widow" for reportedly ordering the killing of each of her husbands. Also known as the "Godmother", she rose to prominence in the underworld of Miami during the 1970s and was known for her penchant for eliminating rivals who dared cross her path.


The Mob's Accountant

Credit: Scott Graham

Meyer Lansky was a key figure in organized crime during the Prohibition era, as he earned his alias "The Mob's Accountant" for his financial prowess in managing illicit enterprises. Lansky’s alias reflected his strategic role in introducing money laundering and offshore banking in 1932 to the American criminal underworld. However, until his death in 1983, he was never found guilty of anything more than illegal gambling.


The Unabomber

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Ted Kaczynski, an American domestic terrorist and mathematician, gained notoriety as "The Unabomber" for his targeting of universities and airlines with homemade bombs. But before his real identity was known, the FBI internally used the name UNABOM (meaning University and Airline Bomber) to refer to his case. The media soon picked up the FBI identifier and creatively transformed it into the "Unabomber."


Pretty Boy Floyd

Credit: Roman Kraft

Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd, a Depression-era bank robber and folk hero, earned his alias for his youthful appearance and charm. His exploits and story contributed to the romanticized image of the outlaw as a Robin Hood figure, as he was believed to burn mortgage documents during robberies, in theory freeing many people from life-long debts.

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