5 Words For Emotions You Never Thought You Had

There are times when words fail us, unable to describe a particular emotion we’re feeling. As it turns out, there areĀ a plethora of words pertaining to specific emotions we may not even know we experience. Whether they’re foreign words or vocabulary taken from John Koenig’s Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, here are five words to add to your arsenal.

5. Kaukokaipuu


n. A Finnish word that describes the feeling of unshakable longing for a distant land or a deep feeling of ā€˜homesicknessā€™ for a place youā€™ve never seen.

4. Sonder


n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your ownā€”populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited crazinessā€”an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that youā€™ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

3. Ambedo


n. a kind of melancholic trance in which you become completely absorbed in vivid sensory detailsā€”raindrops skittering down a window, tall trees leaning in the wind, clouds of cream swirling in your coffeeā€”briefly soaking in the experience of being alive, an act that is done purely for its own sake.

2. Onism


n. the awareness of how little of the world youā€™ll experience. Imagine standing in front of the departures screen at an airport, flickering over with strange place names like other peopleā€™s passwords, each representing one more thing youā€™ll never get to see before you dieā€”and all because, as the arrow on the map helpfully points out, you are here.

1. Xeno


n. the smallest measurable unit of human connection, typically exchanged between passing strangersā€”a flirtatious glance, a sympathetic nod, a shared laugh about some odd coincidenceā€”moments that are fleeting and random but still contain powerful emotional nutrients that can alleviate the symptoms of feeling alone.

Do you know other words for special emotions? Share them with us!


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