10 Words Describing Home

In The Second Edition of the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary, there are more than 171,000 words. Just like when you have 400 channels, and there’s still “nothing on” TV, sometimes you just can’t find the word to describe what you mean.

The Dictionary defines “Home” as: a house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of a person, family, or household.

While accurate, it’s probably not what most of us think of when we think of home. Perhaps it’s the smell of something baking in the kitchen. Or maybe it’s the pure pleasure of relaxing on the couch while binge-watching your favorite show all evening. 

Sourcing translations from The Positive Lexicography Project and working in collaboration with native speakers of each language, Shutterfly created their Close to Home campaign to share words (and images) from around the world that describe some those feelings of home.


Image: (Shutterfly)

In Croatian, “fjaka” describes relaxing your body and your mind, and delighting in the feeling of doing nothing. So fill up that bubble bath, pour a glass of wine, and get your fjaka on.


Image: (Shutterfly)

“Gezellig” is the Dutch version of “good vibes”, as in the feeling of warmth you get when spending time with people you care about in a cozy environment. Who says you have to wait for the holidays for gezellig?


Image: (Shutterfly)

“Gluggaveður” is Icelandic for “window weather”, that weather that’s lovely to look at, but unpleasant to be outside in. A rainy, gluggaveður day is perfect to fjaka.


Image: (Shutterfly)

“Kanso” is Japanese for keeping things simple and achieving clarity by eliminating clutter and omitting the non-essential. In terms of physical possessions, kanso is similar to minimalism. However, kanso seems to be mindset by helping to achieve clarity.


Image: (Shutterfly)

In Danish, “morgenfrisk” is the feeling of waking up refreshed after a good night’s sleep. Surprisingly, the Danish consume on average more than twice the amount of coffee per person than the U.S. Apparently, morgenfrisk eludes people all over the world.


Image: (Shutterfly)

“Peiskos” is Norwegian for fireplace coziness – sitting in front of a crackling fire, relishing it’s warmth. A gluggaveður is the perfect day for some peiskos.


Image: (Shutterfly)

In Greek, “philoxenía” means to welcome strangers into your home with love and respect. So go ahead and throw a party to meet some of your neighbors, just make sure it’s not too late to upset the neighbors who want some sleep. And maybe use paper plates to prevent broken plates while partying like the Greeks.


Image: (Shutterfly)

“Retrouvailles” is the French word to describe the joy of reuniting with loved ones after a long time apart. What could be better than such a reunion? Retrouvailles with crepes, of course.


Image: (Shutterfly)

In Swedish, “sambo” is sharing a life together as a couple under the same roof, without being married nor engaged. We can only help give you a word for it, we can’t promise it’ll stop your parents from asking about future plans.


Image: (Shutterfly)

“Talanoa” is Fijian for the sharing of stories and ideas in order to foster understanding, build relationships, and resolve problems between people. Why not philoxenía so you can talanoa?

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