Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Happiness Found in Translation: A Glossary of Joy from Around the World

Did you know that I'm obsessed with happiness? That it makes me happy to read about happiness? 

I was delighted to find this book in a recent Daedalus Books order. I happily ordered it.

It's Happiness Found in Translation: A Glossary of Joy from Around the World. The author, Tim Lomas, has been studying words about happiness for many years. The book is an illustrated dictionary of Lomas' favorite one hundred words that relate to happiness from all around the globe. Lomas divides the happiness words into three basic categories: feelings, relationships, and personal development.

Here are my favorites.

Norwegian - free-loofts-leev.
Engaging and living in tune with nature.

Italian - spritz-uh-toor-uh.
Nonchalant effortlessness.

Icelandic - hoo-fung-gin.
To be enchanted and enthralled by someone or something.

Greek - yoo-de-moe-nee-uh.
Cultivating and experiencing deep forms of well-being.

Japanese - kin-tsu-gee.
Metaphorically, finding value, meaning, and even beauty
in our vulnerability and flaws.

Ngangiwumirr - duh-dir-rree.
A deep, spiritual act of reflective and respectful listening.

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered, or spotlight words you love.  Feel free to get creative! It was first created by Kathy over at Bermuda Onion and is now hosted at Elza Reads. 


  1. Such an interesting idea to find words of happiness in all languages with illustrations and make a glossary out of them. Love it.

  2. In Afrikaans the word for happiness is "gelukkig" and it actually has 2 meanings - 1) Happy 2) Fortunate. I love it!

    I'm also constantly in the pursuit of happiness. And books over it so generously!

    Have a wonderful Wednesday Debbie!

  3. Beautiful share this week of happiness in it's many languages.

  4. Wonderful words! Love the ones you've chosen to share.

  5. I agree, to read or hear about Happiness makes you feel more happy yourself :)

  6. Those are great. Thanks for sharing them.

  7. Eudaimonia sounded familiar, and I checked -- it's also an English word, borrowed from Greek. Same for Sprezzatura -- it also means a kind of nonchalance in English. Interesting project to find words from around the world.

    best... mae at

  8. It is so interesting how a word can hold so much meaning. I think my favorite word that you shared is sprezzatura - the word and the meaning.

  9. The illustrations in that book are spectacular! What a gem!

  10. By far the happiest thing I've read today! Simply delightful.

  11. How lovely to consider all these wonderful words.

  12. That is lovely - a bit like that Fifty Words for Snow I read a while back, but perhaps a bit jollier!

  13. An international buoy for the spirit! Your post has made me want to find other books like these to give me happiness. Thank you.

  14. those are some fabulous words there! i love the Icelandic!

  15. These are great and thank you for reminding me about Daedalus Books! I used to receive their catalog/newsletter a long time ago and always found some interesting books.

  16. Definitely a joyful post. LOTS of good words to express joy and happiness.

  17. So many different words of happiness. Wonderful. Friluftsliv is the same in Swedish as well.


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