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…

Anchorage

The desire to hold on to time as it passes, like trying to keep your grip on a rock in the middle of a river, feeling the weight of the current against your chest while your elders float on downstream, calling over the roar of the rapids, Just let go—it’s okay—let go. Coined in 2012 by John…

Lethobenthos

The habit of forgetting how important someone is to you until you see them again in person, making you wish your day would begin with a “previously on” recap of your life’s various plot arcs, and end with “to be continued…”. Coined in 2012 by John Koenig in The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, a project, to create a compendium…

Keyframe

A moment that seemed innocuous at the time but ended up marking a diversion into a strange new era of your life. Set in motion not by a series of jolting epiphanies but by tiny imperceptible differences between one ordinary day and the next, until entire years of your memory can be compressed into a handful of indelible images. It…

Liberosis

The desire to care less about things—to loosen your grip on your life, to stop glancing behind you every few steps, afraid that someone will snatch it from you before you reach the end zone—rather to hold your life loosely and playfully, like a volleyball, keeping it in the air, with only quick fleeting interventions, bouncing…

Daguerreologue

An imaginary interview with an old photo of yourself. An enigmatic figure who still lives in the grainy and color-warped house you grew up in. Someone who may well spend a lot of their day wondering where you are and what you’re doing now, like an old grandma whose kids live far away and don’t call much anymore. Coined in 2012…

Opia

The ambiguous intensity of looking someone in the eye, which can feel simultaneously invasive and vulnerable–their pupils glittering, bottomless and opaque–as if you were peering through a hole in the door of a house, able to tell that there’s someone standing there, but unable to tell if you’re looking in or looking out. Coined in 2012…

Pochemuchka

One who asks too many questions. Mostly used to describe a child, who is more curious, tends to ask more questions about anything and everything, up to a point where it becomes annoying. It’s actually a Russian Word. Are you a Pochemuchka or used to be one?😉 Wanna be a wordmate? Connect with us and…

Dead Reckoning

To find yourself bothered by someone’s death more than you would have expected. As if you assumed they would always be part of the landscape, like a lighthouse you could pass by for years until the night it suddenly goes dark, leaving you with one less landmark to navigate by, still able to find your…

Vellichor

The strange wistfulness of used bookstores, which are somehow infused with the passage of time. It’s filled with thousands of old books you’ll never have time to read, each of which is itself locked in its own era, bound and dated and papered over like an old room the author abandoned years ago. Just like…

Adomania

The sense that the future is arriving ahead of schedule, bursting from their hypothetical cages into the arena of the present, furiously bucking the grip of your expectations. 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…

Mal de Coucou

A phenomenon in which you have an active social life but very few close friends – people who you can trust, who you can be yourself with, who can help flush out the weird psychological toxins that tend to accumulate over time. It is a form of acute social malnutrition in which even if you devour an entire buffet…

Youthquake

A significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people. The word youthquake is of course a blend of youth and earthquake. It was declared word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries in 2017. It was first coined in the 1960s by Vogue editor Diana Vreeland, to describe revelations in fashion and music caused…

Anecdoche

A conversation in which everyone is talking but nobody is listening, simply overlaying disconnected words like a game of Scrabble, with each player borrowing bits of other anecdotes as a way to increase their own score, until we all run out of things to say. Coined in 2012 by John Koenig in The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows,…