5 اردو Words That Are So Unique That They Have No Literal English Translation

No matter where life takes us, we will always be connected to Urdu as it is the language our heart speaks. Though most of us would like to call English as our first language as we speak and write the best in it, but one cant deny that Urdu is a beautiful language that has a magic incantation that makes us all spell bound.


It is a versatile language that loses a part of it when translated, BUT we do not want that. This is exactly why today we are here to appreciate our language by spending a while rejoicing the beauty it has.

We have picked five absolutely eccentric words for Urdu language, that have either no literal translation in English or it doesn’t do justice to their impact. Here are these special words:

تشنگی   (Tishnagi)

Initiating the list with the most unique word of the language. It is translated as thirst, desire, inexpressiveness or something that is unfinished. However, there isnt a single word that can be called a literal translation. Off course, how can a word from another language do justice? This one single word has a universe of poetry and expression captivated inside it.

محبت –  عشق – پیار (Pyaar, Ishq, Muhabbat)

Another beauty of Urdu language is the variety it has. These Urdu words are used in different meanings showing completely different intensities, if you love poetry or read it even a bit, you must exactly feel  what I am trying to talk about here.

However, all three are translated as ‘’love’’ in English, which shows how it fails in preserving the influence they have. What a disgrace to these alluring words!

مراسم (Marasim)

It again is one of those words that has the closest translations, however none of them efficacious enough to satisfy Urdu lovers. In English, Marasim is usually translated as ceremonies or connections. These are the words that are closest to it, but none of them carries the same impact and beauty. Urdu definitely is called ‘Badshahon ki zuban’ (language of the kings) for a reason.


اچھا (Acha)

Another  beauty of Urdu language is how one words can be used in multiple connotations. Take in consideration this particular word that we use so frequently in our daily lives. Ever thought about how versatile and adaptable it is? It can be used to express something is good and is also used to show agreement (translated as OKAY). Use it with a question mark (Acha?) and see how it injects completely different essence to the word, showing a ‘surprise’ impact. So many meanings associated to a simple Urdu word. Mind boggling, isn’t it?

فنا (Fanaa)

Just repeat it a couple times, how touching is it? It is translated as destroyed, perished, rotten or decayed. Ask yourself, is any of them satisfactory enough of give it the meaning it deserves? Lovers of literature translate it as ‘destroyed in love’, which we consider is the closest we can get to translating it. Still, we need support of a few words to closely describe it, but cannot be literally translated.

What are your favorite words from Urdu language? Let us know below.

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