19 thoughts on “What is your favorite saying in a foreign language?

  1. Christine

    My husband and I had dinner one night on a cruise ship with the Norwegian captain. He described a philosophy of “dugnad” (doog-nod) meaning “voluntary community service, or the cultural standard of giving something of your time and talents to the greater good” in Norway. I found the word pleasing to say, and the meaning equally satisfying.

  2. Martha

    “Ti kabicha”–pronounced tee cab ee sha–is a nap or snooze in Haitian Creole. The combination of the sound of the words plus the meaning amuses me. Who knows why….

  3. julie

    Vaya con Dios

    Spanish – Go with God

  4. Eleanor Kohn

    I love saying “fauteil” which means armchair in French. It is a hard word to work into the conversation, so I was excited on my last trip to France when I got an opportunity to say “fauteil” in a normal context. I have loved this word since learning it in junior High French class.

  5. Simon

    The German word for “butterfly.” After hearing the Spanish “la mariposa,” (which aptly describes it as it’s resting on a leaf) or the French “le papillon” (which aptly describes it as it flits across the sky), the German word is, “der Schmetterling” (which aptly describes a pterodactyl, or perhaps one of those mechanical wind-up birds you see being sold on the streets).

  6. Auke Hart

    “Drempel” a Dutch word (pronounced like “Dremel” with a p) such a pretty word for a bump in the road. Note, Dremel is an electric screwdriver.

  7. Wilbur E. Anderson

    Varum nicht in dem luft gehen
    (go fly a kite- or as we might say- go jump in the lake)

  8. Bob Brisson

    My favorite is ‘Sawat Dee Kup’. Traditionaal Thai greeting makes everyone smile!

  9. Bob Holman

    Pronto means hello when you answer the phone in Italy.

  10. Mike


    In Greek it means “we are being tortured”!

  11. Leigh Shepherd

    Je parle un petit, tres mauvais Francais. (I speak a little vey bad French.) Always got them laughing and speaking English.

  12. Mike

    “Je ne sais pas.” (French for ‘I don’t know’) My daughter and I have shortened it to “pah”, to go along with our shortening of Louisville to “Luh” and New Orleans to “Nuh”. The fact that my wife rolls her eyes whenever either of us does any the above adds to the pleasure.

  13. Nancy Davis

    I love to go to the post office in Italy so I can buy some FRANCOBOLLI, my favorite Italian word!

  14. Patrick Milligan

    My favorite phrase was “je ne parl frances” or “I don’t speak French”. It got me through France in the bad old days of the 60’s, when all of the French could speak english, but would not. But even my “je ne parl” showed them that I was making some effort to speak in their language. Melted the ice.

  15. Craig Hamilton

    Actually I was going to say “Kaput” too, but “Handy” would be my second choice – German for “cell phone.” It just makes so much sense!

  16. John

    “Come lo faceva la mama” – italiano. In English, “Just like mother used to make!” Always makes the waiter or waitress smile.

  17. Andrew Johnson

    I agree with Einstein that the most expressive word in German is “damit” (“with it”), but their various words related to travel and direction are just as good–e.g., “ausfahrt” for “exit” and “rundfahrt” for tours.

  18. Jeremy Powers


    Even in China they knew what that meant. Very handy when things break. Bring a pair of broken classes into a optomitrist is Nepal and show them and say “kaput.” They’ll realize they’re broken and you need help.

  19. Stephen

    Popty ping (Welsh for microwave)

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