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,…

The McFly Effect

The phenomenon of observing your parents interact with people they grew up with, which reboots their personalities into youth mode. It reverts them to a time before the last save point, when they were still dreamers and rascals cooling their heels in the wilderness, waiting terrified and eager to meet you for the first time. Coined in 2012…

Onism

The frustration of being stuck in just one body, that inhabits only one place at a time, which is like standing in front of the departures screen at an airport, flickering over with strange place names, representing one more thing you’ll never get to see before you die and all because, as the arrow on the…

Heartworm

A relationship or friendship that you can’t get out of your head, which you thought had faded long ago but is still somehow alive and unfinished, like an abandoned campsite whose smoldering embers still have the power to start a forest fire. Coined in 2012 by John Koenig in The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, a project, to…

Jouska

A hypothetical conversation that you compulsively play out in your head. A crisp analysis, a cathartic dialogue, a devastating comeback—which serves as a kind of psychological batting cage where you can connect more deeply with people than in the small ball of everyday life, which is a frustratingly cautious game of change-up pitches, sacrifice bunts, and intentional walks. Coined…

Exulansis

The tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it. Whether through envy or pity or simple foreignness, which allows it to drift away from the rest of your life story, until the memory itself feels out of place, almost mythical, wandering restlessly in the fog, no longer even…

Moledro

A feeling of resonant connection with an author or artist you’ll never meet, who may have lived centuries ago and thousands of miles away but can still get inside your head and leave behind morsels of their experience, like the little piles of stones left by hikers that mark a hidden path through unfamiliar territory. Coined in…

Nodus Tollens

The realization that the plot of your life doesn’t make sense to you anymore. Although you thought, that you were following the arc of the story, you keep finding yourself immersed in passages you don’t understand, that don’t even seem to belong in the same genre. This requires you to go back and reread the chapters you…

Athazagoraphobia

Phobia means, an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something. Athazagoraphobia is the fear of being forgotten or ignored and fear of forgetting. Many specific phobias can be traced back to a specific triggering event, usually a traumatic experience at some point of life. It is believed that heredity, genetics, and brain chemistry…

Oleka

The awareness of how few days are memorable. Another day, another week, another year. We’ve heard this song before. Our lives are built of the same few notes, repeated over and over. It’s not a grand symphony, full of surprises. It’s a song sung in canon, that simply carries on until the tune gets stuck in your…