Did I mention that my beautiful sister has great taste in books? It figures, as she has a degree in literature, but maybe it is just that we have similar tastes? Anyway, among the pile of books she lent me recently is this-
A language lover's guide to the most useful and intriguing words from around the world by C.J Moore.
The title needs no further explanation, so without further ado, here are a few words I found intriguing....
esprit de l'escalier (es-pree de less-kal-iay) (idion) French
A witty remark that occurs to you too late, literally on the way down the stairs. The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations defines esprit de l'escalier as, "An untranslatable phrase, the meaning of which is that one only thinks on one's way downstairs of the smart retort one might have made in the drawing room."
(And I'm sure we all have felt that before and yet may not have not known that the French have a word for it...)
schadenfreude (shar-den-froi-da) (noun) German
A compound word consisting of Schaden meaning "damage" and Freude meaning "joy". This is a dirty, cackle-rousing kind of happiness derived from someone else's misfortune. We're all disgustingly guilty of enjoying this emotion at some time or other.
uitwaaien (oot-vay-en) (verb) Dutch
A most useful and attractive verb meaning "to walk in the wind for fun". It conjures up a charming image of eighteenth-century Dutch landscape paintings.
Don't you just love language? If you know the meaning of any intriguing words I would love to know them...