Grief Bacon

What are your favorite words or phrases, in any language?

Daughter taught me Kummerspeck recently–literally grief bacon. It’s the German compound noun for the weight one gains from emotional eating.

How awesome is that?

I posted the word on Facebook the other day, and a loving friend of German descent commented, “I hope you are reveling in the bizarre household-nature of German compound words, and not suffering from Kummerspeck.” I replied that I have indeed experienced Kummerspeck before (possibly also now, not sure), and that “I *love* German precisely because by having words for such mundane and yet significant experiences, the language, and thus the culture, validate them and make us feel not alone for having them.”

In med school we learned Mittelschmerz–middle pain–the pain women feel from ovulation, which happens 14 days prior to menstruation (the middle of a typical 28 day cycle). Now I also love Drachenfutter–dragon fodder–‘apology gift (given to a spouse)’. And everybody knows Schadenfreude–joy in others’ misery; but I like Freudenfreude–joy in others’ joy.

In Chinese I particularly love shang nao jin, 傷腦筋, which literally means to wound (shang) the mind (nao jin–‘brain nerve’). It’s used to express when one is exhaustingly vexed by a problem. Similarly, when we say someone is dong nao jin, 動腦筋, moving the mind, we mean they are actively, even agilely, thinking. I also love shuai, 帥, which is usually translated simply as handsome. But the connotation encompasses more than just physical appearance. There is something attractive, masculine, strong, graceful, respectable, and maybe even alpha, all included in the one word, one syllable expression. Chinese language is extremely efficient.

Here are some British expressions I love, which really make me want to live there for a while someday:

Barmy, barking mad, and off your head — crazy

Fiddly — fussy, requiring an annoying amount of close attention

Faff — to make a fuss over nothing

Cheeky — amusingly irreverent (I also love irreverent itself–the word and the way of being)

Dodgy — dishonest, unreliable, potentially dangerous, low quality, or just ‘off’ in some way

Loo — the best word in the whole world for bathroom

Isn’t this fun?? Won’t it be fantastic if everybody writes about their favorite phrases in the comments below? C’mon, it’ll only take a minute!! 😀

22 thoughts on “Grief Bacon

  1. I love this post! It makes me smile and think – such an awesome combination. I realize how few words and phrases I know from other languages. This just may be a new challenge I embark on. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such an entertaining read, Catherine. I’ve always been amused by some of the German words (and particularly long ones) and found it fun to pick up the Chinese saying “shang nao jin.” Oh boy does that one hit home.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a fun post, Cathy. A phrase I have used for 30+ years is “Criminy Dutch!” which means—at least how I use it—What the holy hell?
    And I’ve always liked the sound of many Yiddish phrases, like:
    Kvetch – which means complain or whine
    Schlep – carrying or dragging something heavy (and often unnecessary)
    Mentch – a good, reliable person
    Shmooze – compelling conversation or small talk
    Chutzpah – audacity, boldness
    Meshuggeneh – absurd, crazy
    Mishegas – a whole lotta messy foolishness

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Our daughter married an Irishman and we now have 3 Irish grandchildren (they live in Killiney, south of Dublin). A favorite expression our daughter and son-in-law use with the kids is (not sure if it is Irish or British) is “how about a cuddle?” meaning ‘a warm embrace to make you feel safe and secure’. I think we could all do with a ‘cuddle’ every now and then.

    Liked by 1 person

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