10 inspiring words you may never have heard

Positive News

As our latest cover feature explores, some 7,000 languages are spoken around the world. In celebration of this rich diversity, we’ve collected 10 of our favourite inspiring words

1. Xibipíío
Origin: Pirahã, Amazonian Brazil
Meaning: A phenomenon on the boundaries of perception or experience

2. Ondinnonk
Origin: Iroquoian, North America
Meaning: The soul’s innermost desires, as revealed in dreams

3. Hózhó
Origin: Navajo, US
Meaning: Striving for balance in life, towards oneself, others and the earth


4. Hoʻoponopono
Origin: Hawaiian, Hawaii
Meaning: An interaction involving mutual forgiveness and restitution

5. Wantok
Origin: Tok Pisin, Papua New Guinea
Meaning: The community where I find belonging: we speak the same language and are responsible for each other

6. Turangawaewae
Origin: Maori, New Zealand
Meaning: A place to stand; a place where we feel rooted, empowered and connected


7. Woohitike
Origin: Lakota, North and South Dakota, US
Meaning: The brave and courageous spirit that lies in every person

8. Piliriqatigiinniq
Origin: Inuktitut, Canada
Meaning: Togetherness, community spirit. Working together for the common good

9. Fago
Origin: Ifaluk, Ifaluk Island, Pacific Ocean
Meaning: A combination of sorrow and the optimism to be found in human compassion

10. Kenshō
Origin: Japanese
Meaning: A temporary glimpse of awakening or enlightenment


Read the story behind efforts to protect our vanishing languages here.

Main image: Yolngu people preparing for traditional ceremonies in Arnhem Land, Australia. Photo by: Wayne Quilliam/Yothu Yindi Foundation

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