Feb. 10, 2021

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

I've heard of this YouTube channel/website in the past before from Vsauce, and I've now heard it from Solar Sands after watching his video about liminal spaces. I decided to finally check it out to see what I would find, and I think I've really discovered something truly beautiful.

"The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is a compendium of invented words written by John Koenig. Each original definition aims to fill a hole in the language—to give a name to emotions we all might experience but don’t yet have a word for."

So, what are these invented words? Here are a few which I find to give off a particular kind of somber quality that I personally resonate with:

  1. sonder - n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.
  2. vemödalen - n. the fear that everything has already been done.
  3. ambedo - n. a kind of melancholic trance in which you become completely absorbed in vivid sensory details.
  4. socha - n. the hidden vulnerability of others.
  5. moment of tangecy - phr. a glimpse of what might have been.
  6. silience - n. the kind of unnoticed excellence that carries on around you every day, unremarkably.


Aren't they just brilliant? They each manage to capture that one specific feeling, and John eloquently articulates them using both video and speech so perfectly well.

I hope to use in a purposeful way at least one of these words or phrases and delightfully explain what exactly I was trying to say.

Be kind and keep striving!

Written by Quarter

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Posted On Feb 12, 2021

Yeah those words are great! I especially like the definition of Sonder

Posted On Feb 12, 2021

Language is beautiful. Thanks for sharing! I personally like "komorebi" which is a Japanese word for the scattered sunlight passing through the leaves of trees.

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