It's interesting to discover what concepts other cultures have captured in a word or phrase. Oftentimes, these words don't have a clean translation into other languages. The literal English translation of je ne sais quois is "I don't know what," but that's not quite what the phrase means. Someone or something possessed of je ne sais quois has allure and charisma and fabulousness that are hard to put into words.
Another French word the English language borrows is haute. It refers to the highest, the best of the best. We see it in haute cuisine, haute couture, and--if you're a reader of Regency romance--haute ton, which is the highest echelon of society. One could say "top cuisine," or "the best fashion," but those don't have the same sense as haute, which denotes an air of exclusivity and luxury, as well as a top ranking.
|OMG, it's Jersey Shore. Change the channel, quick!|
What words--in English or in other languages--do you know that lack an equivalent in other tongues? Share them in the comments!