Have you ever felt an odd emotion or experienced something that you try and explain to someone in the hope that they have experienced it as well, but you struggle to find a word that perfectly describes what you’re feeling? You’re not alone.
Thanks to John Koenig and his book – The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows – you now have a word for that emotion you don’t quite know how to express.
Here are 15 words that perfectly define those hard to describe ineffable feelings:
The realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness.
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.
The smallest measurable unit of human connection, typically exchanged between passing strangers.
The tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it.
The eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that’s usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet.
A condition characterized by scanning faces in a crowd looking for a specific person who would have no reason to be there is your brain’s way of checking to see whether they’re still in your life.
Feeling the pleasure and sense of peace of being near a gathering but not quite in it.
The amniotic tranquillity of being indoors during a thunderstorm, listening to waves of rain pattering against the roof.
9. Fata Organa:
A flash of real emotion glimpsed in someone sitting across the room, idly locked in the middle of some group conversation.
A hypothetical conversation that you compulsively play out in your head.
The desire to be struck by disaster—to survive a plane crash, to lose everything in a fire, to plunge over a waterfall—which would put a kink in the smooth arc of your life, and forge it into something hardened and flexible and sharp.
A conversation in which everyone is talking but nobody is listening, simply overlaying disconnected words like a game of Scrabble.
A state of being exhausted at how horrible people can be to each other.
The unsettling awareness of your own heartbeat.
15. The bends:
Frustration that you’re not enjoying an experience as much as you should, even something you’ve worked for years to attain.