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These Foreign Phrases Have No English Equivalent... But They Should


The English language has the most words of any spoken on Earth, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have limitations. People who speak English as a second language often find certain words or phrases in their native tongues don't have a direct equivalent in their adopted one. In a recent thread on Ask Reddit, people shared their favorite expressions that have no easy English translation — but after learning about them, we feel pretty adamant that they should.

1. Danish: "bjørnetjeneste"

Source: istock

The literal translation of this Danish word is "the bear's favor," and according to reachling, it means "to do something with good intentions [with] horrible consequences." The origin comes from a fable about a tame bear and its owner. The bear notices a bee flying by his owner's face and tries to swat it away for the man, but in the process mauls his face.

Boy, is that a poignant fable and also a really useful word! I think we've all been guilty of committing a bjørnetjeneste.