Have you ever felt like you can’t describe how you feel, especially when it comes to relationships? It might be because the word simply doesn’t exist in English.
In Psychology Today, Pamela Haag, Ph.D., author of Marriage Confidential, posts the top 10 words she’s discovered to describe how you feel in other languages. Take a look at her list here.
We’ve asked our e-tutors to give us some of their favorite words and expressions related to relationships. Some have English equivalents and others are harder to define.
心心相印 xīn xīn xiāng yìn to have mutual affinity, be kindred spirits. It literally translates to heat to heart mutual reflection/print, describing the understanding between two people, two hearts.
我对你的爱 ”海枯石烂” wǒ duì nǐ de ài hǎi kū shí làn I will love you until “the seas run dry and the rocks crumble.” I will love you forever.
比翼双飞 bǐyì shuāng fēi to fly together wing to wing, referring to mandarin ducks, 鸳鸯 yuānyāng, which fly in pairs. In Chinese culture yuānyāng represent a life-long couple and are symbols of affection, happiness and fidelity.
Famous lines from ancient Chinese poetry
此情可待成追忆,只是当时己惘然 cǐ qíng kě dài chéng zhuīyì, zhǐshì dāngshí yǐ wǎngrán Now, this love is just a memory, back then it was confusing, misunderstood, and unappreciated. This phrase is used to describe a relationship taken for granted.
身无彩凤双飞翼, 心有灵犀一点通 shēn wú cǎi fèng shuāng fēi yì, xīn yǒu língxī yīdiǎn tōng. This is one interpretation. “For bodies not fluttering side by side of splendid phoenix wings, Between hearts the one minute thread from root to tip of the magic horn. (The second line is often quoted as meaning a meeting of minds.)” In other words, although two people cannot be together, their hearts will always be connected.
爱着你，就像老鼠爱大米 Àizhe nǐ, jiù xiàng lǎoshǔ ài dàmǐ Loving you just like mouse loves rice. This is a phrase from a famous song called “Mouse loves Rice” It is originally by Yang Chengang, but Jackie Chan also sings a version. Interestingly, in Western cultures mice love cheese, but in Chinese mice love rice.
Unusual verbs to describe ‘to love somebody’
verknallt sein to be smitten, to have a crush [lit: I am banged in you.]
Schmetterlinge im Bauch haben to be happy/excited, usually because you are in love [lit. to have butterflies in the stomach]
Alte Liebe rostet nicht. True love never dies. [lit. Old love never rusts.]
Schatz, Schatzi, Schätzchen treasure
Spatz, Spätzchen, Spätzle sparrow
Cotta is the feminine of the adjective cooked (like in well cooked). “Prendere una cotta” is similar to English’s ” to have a crush on somebody” but with strong love feelings involved — usually cotta does not last long.
尻に敷かれる shiri ni shikareru: [lit.Being under the butt.] It expresses a man being under his wife’s thumb, a whipped man.”The butt” here refers to one’s wife’s butt!
un coup de foudre or avoir un coup de foudre pour love at first sight or to be lovestruck with. The literal translation is a lighting strike
vivre d’amour et d’eau fraîche Meaning: to live on love alone, to be irresponsible. The literal translation is to live on love and cold water
poser un lapin to make a rendez-vous with a date and not show up. Literal translation: to put down a rabbit
ils ne peuvent pas se sentir Meaning: they cannot stand each other. The literal translation is they cannot smell each other
il y a de l’eau dans le gaz Meaning: the relationship is tense, with many problems and disputes Literal translation: there is water in the gas