Apapachar: To Hug with Your Soul

There are words untranslatable, and when translated something of essence is left out. The word “apapachar” used by Mayan influenced people, like in southern Mexico and Central America is one such word. Many dictionaries translate it as “spoil” or “pamper”.

How curious that in English the word emphasizes either the ruining of something in a child (because when overdone, the child becomes “spoiled rotten”), or the indulgence given a person when you do things for them they could do themselves (as it happens when you pamper someone in a spa).

What then, is “apapachar”? It is associated with pamper or spoil because of the image of a parent hugging his child or a lover cuddling and whispering tender nothings.

There is no word in the English language that I’m aware of, and if we were to translate literally from the Mayan, to apapachar is “to hug with your soul.”

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