An untranslatable word for pure joy

A Tagalog word describes how many feel in the presence of overwhelming cuteness – but ‘gigil’ is a term largely unknown outside of the Philippines.

Maybe it’s an adorable baby that causes it. Or a puppy taking her master for a walk down the street. Or a cat video that you just can’t help but share with your friends. That overpowering feeling that comes with seeing something unbearably cute – that made your grandma want to pinch your cheeks when you were a child – doesn’t have a specific word assigned to it in English. But it does in Tagalog, one of the Phillippines’ major languages.

It’s called gigil. And it’s the subject of our first video in a new series about untranslatable words. Click the ‘play’ button above to watch the video.

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