Nighthawk

A recurring thought that only seems to strike you late at night—an overdue task, a nagging guilt, a looming and shapeless future—that circles high overhead during the day, that pecks at the back of your mind while you try to sleep, that you can successfully ignore for weeks, only to feel its presence hovering outside…

Klexos

Your life is written in indelible ink. There’s no going back to erase the past, tweak your mistakes, or fill in missed opportunities. When the moment’s over, your fate is sealed. But if look closer, you notice the ink never really dries on any of our experiences. They can change their meaning the longer you…

Anemoia

Imagine stepping through the frame into a sepia-tinted haze, where you could sit on the side of the road and watch the locals passing by. Who lived and died before any of us arrived here, who sleep in some of the same houses we do, who look up at the same moon, who breathe the…

Astrophe

It’s hard not to look at the ground as you walk. To set your sights low, and keep the world spinning, and try to stay grounded wherever you are. But every so often you remember to look up, and imagine the possibilities. Dreaming of what’s out there. Before long, you find yourself grounded once again….

Fitzcarraldo

An image that somehow becomes lodged deep in your brain. Maybe washed there by a dream, or smuggled inside a book, or planted during a casual conversation. It then grows into a wild and impractical vision that keeps scrambling back and forth in your head like a dog stuck in a car that’s about to…

Mahpiohanzia

The disappointment of being unable to fly. Being unable to stretch out your arms and vault into the air, having finally shrugged off the ballast of your own weight and ignited the fuel tank of unfulfilled desires you’ve been storing up since before you were born. Coined in 2012 by John Koenig in The Dictionary…

Waldosia

A condition characterized by scanning faces in a crowd looking for a specific person who would have no reason to be there. It’s your brain’s way of checking to see whether they’re still in your life, subconsciously patting its emotional pockets before it leaves for the day. Coined in 2012 by John Koenig in The…

Xeno

The smallest measurable unit of human connection, typically exchanged between passing strangers. It can be a flirtatious glance, a sympathetic nod or a shared laugh about some odd coincidence. Moments that are fleeting and random but still contain powerful emotional nutrients that can alleviate the symptoms of feeling alone. Coined in 2012 by John Koenig…

Silience

The brilliant artistry hidden all around you. Its’s strange that something so vibrant as art is so nearly invisible. Strange how rarely we stop to savor the details, or hear the music playing in the background that’s far better than it has any right to be. It’s only after someone points it out, that you…

Keta

An image that inexplicably leaps back into your mind from the distant past. Coined in 2012 by John Koenig in The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, a project, to create a compendium of invented words for every emotion we might all experience but don’t yet have a word for. Wanna be a wordmate? Connect with us and transform your…

Occhiolism

The awareness of the smallness of your perspective, by which you couldn’t possibly draw any meaningful conclusions at all, about the world or the past or the complexities of culture. Although your life is an epic and unrepeatable anecdote, it still only has a sample size of one, and may end up being the control…

Zenosyne

The sense that time keeps going faster. As a kid, you run around so fast, the world around you seems to stand still. Summer vacation can stretch on for an eternity. With each birthday we circle back and cross the same point around the sun. We wish each other “many happy returns”. But soon you feel…

Deep Cut

An emotion you haven’t felt in years that you might have forgotten completely if your emotional playlist hadn’t been left on shuffle. A feeling whose opening riff tugs on all your other neurons like a dog on a leash waiting for you to open the door. Coined in 2012 by John Koenig in The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, a project,…

Zielschmerz

The exhilarating dread of finally pursuing a lifelong dream. It requires you to put your true abilities out there to be tested on the open savannah. You are no longer protected inside the terrarium of hopes and delusions that you created in kindergarten and kept sealed as long as you could, only to break in case of emergency. Coined in…