butterfly is one of nature's most endearing and
beautiful creatures. It flutters around from place
to place with no real plan and does no harm to
anyone or anything, rather like a backpacker.
Therefore it deserves a word that adequately describes
it and which has a sound that is pleasant and
easy on the ear, so even if you don't understand
the word you can guess that it's something nice
and harmless. In French it's Papillon.
In Spanish it's Mariposa. Like the English
word they are both pleasant and easy on the ear.
Even if someone shouts these words across a room
at you, you would immediately think it was something
harmless and unthreatening. You wouldn't be in
the least upset by this.
imagine my surprise when I found out that the German
word for butterfly is Schmetterling.
if someone shouts that across the room to you, you'd
think you were being insulted, wouldn't you?
finding out this word it has become the subject
of a worldwide search. I have taken this word to
my heart and adopted it as my own. I love it, and
named my company after it. I love it because it
is so harsh and aggressive sounding, yet it describes
something that is far from harsh and aggressive.
This, in essence, completely sums up the German
language and why the poor Germans are so misunderstood. In truth the German people are very kind, funny and generous people (at least in my experience).
It's my ambition to find a word for butterfly that
sounds worse than Schmetterling. So if you
speak another language then please email me on:
with the word for butterfly in your language,
and I will add it to the list below:
Slovenian: Metulj (pronounced metool)
Japanese: Chou Chou
Nyadja, the native language of Zambia: Chipempelwa
Phillipino, Paru Paro
Moroccan Arabic, Fartouto
Yoruba language (Nigeria), labalaba
Thai, Pi süag glang wan
you would like to submit a language not on this
list, please email it to me at: