Everyone knows that English has borrowed countless words from other languages. Words of Latin, French, Greek, and German origin are especially common, but you'll also find plenty of words from languages such as Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, Italian, and Spanish in the dictionary. Surprisingly, though, Finnish, a language with around five million speakers, has donated just a single word to everyday English: sauna. It's a word that many people are familiar with, especially if you've experienced one at a gym or spa. Saunas are incredibly common in Finland, as most houses contain a built-in sauna and nearly all Finns visit the sauna at least once a week. Essentially, a sauna is a small, wood-lined room or building equipped with a heater. Saunas are designed for experiencing dry heat, which makes people perspire. Bathers are able to tolerate temperatures as high as 100 °C (212 °F) in saunas because humidity levels are kept low. Steam is generated by pouring water onto hot stones. So although only one Finnish word has made its way into the English language, it's certainly a memorable one!
More about saunas:
- Many people enjoy saunas for their therapeutic benefits and as a method of relaxation. There are many purported health benefits, such as relieving asthma, improving heart health, strengthening the immune system, and soothing certain skin conditions.
- Guinness World Records recognizes the Koi Sauna in Sinsheim, Germany as the world's largest sauna. It can hold over 150 people and has an aquarium full of exotic fish.
- Many other cultures have sweat bathing facilities, as well, such as the Turkish hammam, the Japanese onsen, and the ancient Roman thermae.