meraki /me-RAH-kee/. adjective. A Greek word used to describe doing or making something with great passion, soul, ardor, and creativity. The absorptions and intense enthusiasm when focused on a particular, creative activity. Often (wrongly) called an “untranslatable.” In modern Greek script: μεράκι. From Turkish merak (curiosity, whim, passion). See also: kefi and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s flow.
“Every kind of work has this meraki, this…it has a beauty, a…creativity, how can I describe this to you? It’s…even the cook, when he makes a good meal…I, when I cook, I know that…the pot’s on the fire and I can’t read, I keep getting up all the time, tak!, to go and see, you know, how it’s doing.” (Andreas Nenedakis, as cited in Portrait of a Greek Imagination).
“The long-term appearance of boredom and disengagement may be reproduced in a fully socialized artisan as the nonchalant skill of one who does not need to think about what he is doing in order to do it successfully. It is not that he is indifferent; on the contrary, his nonchalance is the product of his Meraki, his love for the craft, which is such that he neither cares about the jibes of others nor feels diminished by his own missteps…” (Michael Herzfeld, from The Body Impolitic)