Language, explained

Untranslatable is a place where native speakers from around the world get to share, explain and define things from their language.

With thousands of entries in 77 languages from over 108 countries, this platform aims to give everyone an opportunity to share and explain slang, expressions, idioms, emojis, references from their part of the world.

browse entries
Responsive image

Latest entry

English The South, United States

nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs

Idiom USED On Rare Occasion BY Some People

Used to describe someone who is nervous. The imagery is that a cat with a long tail would be in constant danger of having its tail crushed under the moving chairs in a room full of rocking chairs

“Did you get to see her before she gets on stage?” “Yes, she’s nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, but I think she’ll be great.”


Beyond translation

Translation isn’t the only thing that defines what something means. At Untranslatable, we try to go beyond translation by sharing specific information about where something is used, how frequently, and by who.

Information that is often common knowledge to native speakers, but not to outsiders. This way you get an insider view into a foreign language.




Crowdfunded, crowdsourced

Untranslatable is made possible by you.

The project launched in 2019 on Kickstarter, and has since gathered thousands of entries from all over the world.



Responsive image

Responsive image

A collection of dictionaries

Beyond our own database of entries, we also have a database documenting other amazing alternative dictionaries or project related to slang.

This includes dictionaries, online or printed, that are dedicated to non-standard varieties, or projects that focus on language varieties that are often left undocumented.





It's like asking a friend

Untranslatable is not a replacement for a traditional dictionary, but should be seen as an addition thereof. Think of it like asking a foreign friend to explain a local linguistic phenomenon to you.



Responsive image