Words for Emotions That Don’t Have Names Yet

atkins bookshelf wordsThe 42 muscles in the human face can create more than 10,000 different facial expressions, and of those only 3,000 are relevant to emotion. Of these 3,000, there are seven emotions that are expressed through the same facial expressions throughout the world: anger, contempt, disgust, fear, happiness, surprise, and sadness. Tiffany Watt Smith, a research fellow at the Centre for the History of the Emotions at the Queen Mary University of London, decided to comb the literature on emotions to find unique names for those 3,000 emotions. Her book, The Book of Human Emotions, includes 154 words from around the world — from the idiosyncratic to the universal. But John Koenig, a graphic designer and editor of the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, wanted to take emotions one step further. In 2009, he began compiling a brilliant dictionary of invented words for emotions that do not exist in any dictionary — yet. “Each original definition,” states Koenig, “aims to fill a hole in the language — to give a name to emotions the we all might experience, but [we] don’t yet have a word for.” The website will be published as a book in 2017. Here are some notable entries:

Sonder: the realization that each passerby has a life as vivid and complex as your own

Altschmerz: weariness with the same old issues that you always had, like the same flaws and anxieties that you have been wrestling with for years

Apia: the ambiguous intensity of looking someone in the eye, which can feel simultaneously invasive and vulnerable

Chrysalism: the amniotic tranquility of being indoors during a thunderstorm

Ellipsism: sadness that you’ll never be able to know how history will turn out

Exulansis: the tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it

Kenopsia: the eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that’s usually bustling with people, but is now abandoned and quiet

Kuebiko: a state of exhaustion inspired by acts of senseless violence

Jouska: a hypothetical conversation that you compulsively play out in your head

Lachesis: longing for the clarity of a disaster

Liberosis: the desire to care less about things

Monachopsis: the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place

Rubatosis: the unsettling awareness of your own heartbeat

Ruckkehrunruhe: the feeling of returning home after an immersive trip only to find it fading rapidly from your awareness

Vellichor: the strange wistfulness of used bookstores

Vemodalen: the frustration of photographing something amazing when thousands of identical photos already exist

Zenosyne: the sense that time keeps going faster


Read related posts: How Many Emotions Are There?
How Many Music Genres Exist?
When Power Corrupts, Poetry Cleanses
The Wisdom of the Ancient Greeks

For further reading: http://www.dictionaryofobscuresorrows.com

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