23 Emotions Most Can’t Describe

Paul Armendariz, Staff Writer

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     The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, created by graphic designer and editor John Koenig, is a website and YouTube channel that invents words that perfectly describe feelings that were, for years, indescribable. The compendium brings to light emotions that everyone has most likely felt, but never had a word for them. A few of the more common words are listed below.


Monachopsis: the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place.

Rubatosis: the unsettling awareness of your own heartbeat.

Jouska: a hypothetical conversation that you compulsively play out in your head.

Chrysalism: the amniotic tranquility of being inside during a thunderstorm.

Anecdoche: a conversation in which everyone is talking but no one is listening.

Ellipsism: sadness that you’ll never be able to know how history will turn out.

Lachesism: the desire to be struck by distator-to survive a plane crash, or to lose everything in a fire.

Exulansis: the tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it.

Rükkehrunruhe: the feeling of returning home after an immersive trip only to find it fading rapidly from your awareness.

Onism: the frustration of being stuck in just one body, that inhabits only one place at a time.

Liberosis: the desire to care less about things.

Occhiolism: the awareness of the smallness of your perspective.

Nodus Tollens: the realization that the plot of your life doesn’t make sense anymore.

Adronitis: frustration with how long it takes to get to know someone.

Kuebiko: the state of exhaustion inspired by senseless acts of violence.

Vemodalen: the frustration of photographing something when thousands of identical photos already exist.

Mauerbauertraurigkeit: the inexplicable urge to push people away, even close friends who you really like.

Sonder: the realization that each passerby has a life as vivid and complex as yours.

Opia: the ambiguous intensity of looking someone in the eye, which can feel simultaneously invasive and vulnerable.

Énouement: the bittersweetness of having arrived in the future, seeing how things turned out, but not being able to tell your past self.

Vellichor: the strange wistfulness of used bookshops.

Kenopsia: the eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that’s usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet.


Altschmerz: weariness with the same old issues that you’ve always had- the same boring flaws and anxieties you’ve been gnawing on for years.


     Have you ever experienced any of these odd emotions? If so, which one(s)? Please feel free to comment below!


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