In the Yaghan language of the Tierra del Feugo located in an archipelago off of the South American mainland, natives have a word which effectively conveys that look two people with a shared thought think but can’t, won’t, or don’t want to do. The word is “mamihlapinatapai” which is difficult to translate but meaningful never the less. Listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the “most succinct word” which best describes unspoken and private moments shared in public where each party is fully aware of what the other is non-verbally expressing but is otherwise unwilling to vocally suggest or offer the thought. Some believe the word also translates to a meaningful, yet expressive silence.
Filed Under: Words You Want