10 Ingenious Terms Other Languages Use to Talk About Food

We're not sure about "grief bacon," but we really do need a word for the amount of time it takes to eat a banana
10 Ingenious Terms Other Languages Use to Talk About Food


Shemomedjamo is when we are very full but keep eating anyway.

English has adopted words from many different languages, a number of them to have to do with food. Bon vivant, wok, paella, radicchio, and schnitzel come to mind. But there are food terms in other languages that are so specific, and in some cases perhaps so culturally focused, that they haven't made the transition.

Click here for 10 Ingenious Terms Other Languages Use to Talk About Food

As a lifelong addict to magazines like Mental Floss and Smithsonian – especially when they feature articles about foreign languages — I could think of some words, like Kummerspeck (“grief bacon”), off the top of my head. But most of the words I knew had nothing to do with food, like layogenic, a Tagalog word for somebody who looks attractive from a distance but not up close, or pochemuchka, a Russian term for a person who asks too many questions.

A quick search suggested that there are, in fact, many non-English words for food-related practices. I found an online forum where people volunteered words from their native languages and cross-referenced them with more credible sources.

Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragun-gsgesetz, a 63-letter German word for “law for the delegation of monitoring beef labeling,” didn’t make this list because German officials declared it obsolete in 2013. But don’t fret: there are other German words on this list that are much easier to pronounce. There is a word in Afrikaans (padkos) that means “the food one carries with them while traveling,” and a word in Hungarian that is even more specific than that. You’ll just have to wait and see (the Inuit word for doing just that is iktsuarkpot).

Sit back as we do our best to explain these foreign words to you in English. You might be surprised at how handy they could be.

Drachenfutter (German)


This guy could really use some dragon fodder.

Nobody does compound words like the Germans. Drachenfutter (literal translation: dragon fodder) refers to the food a man uses to mollify his wife or girlfriend after he has annoyed her.

Empacho (Spanish)


Empacho is slightly worse than a food coma.

We do have a word for this in English: food coma! However, the Mexican interpretation of this term is a little more serious. It refers to the abdominal pain that hits you after you have eaten a very big meal — when the pain is severe enough that it can lead to vomiting. 

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