ADRONITIS  (n) Frustration with how long it takes to get to know someone   [By John Koenig]

AGORA  (n) An open “place of assembly” in ancient greek city-states  [Greek]

ALTSCHMERZ  (n) Weariness with the same old issues that you’ve always had – the same boring flaws and anxieties you’ve been gnawing on for years   [By John Koenig]

ANECDOCHE  (n) A conversation in which everyone is talking but nobody is listening   [By John Koenig]

APETROTS  (adj)  Literally translated to “monkey proud”, meaning very proud, proud as a peacock   [Dutch]

AQUIVER  (adj)  Quivering, trembling   [English]

AURORA  (n) Dawn   [English]

BACKPFEIFENGESICHT  (n) A face badly in need of a fist    [German]

BOMBINATE  (v) To make a humming or buzzing noise   [English]

BARTONNER  (v) Means to hit the target, to be successful, “a box-office smash” – refers to the cardboard targets at shooting ranges   [French]

CAFUNE  (v)  To run your fingers through a lover’s hair   [Portugese]

CARYATID  (n) A sculpted female figure serving as an architectural support, also know as column   [Latin]

CHRYSALISM  (n) The amniotic tranquility of being indoors during a thunderstorm   [By John Koenig]

CROMULENT  (n) Appearing legitimate but actually being spurious   [English]

CWITCH  (n) A hug, the safe place provided by a loved one   [Welsh]

DEFENESTRATION  (n) The act of throwing someone out of a window   [English]

DENOUEMENT  (n) The resolution of a narrative   [English]

DEPAYSEMENT  (n) The disorientation felt in a foreign country or culture, the sense of being a fish out of water    [French]

DESENRASCANÇO  (n) The last minute improvisation of a hasty but perfectly sound solution; pulling a MacGuyver   [Portugese]

EEKHOORNTJESBROOD  (n) “Little squirrels’ bread” – Porcini mushrooms   [Dutch]

EFFERVESCENCE  (n) Bubbles in a liquid   [English]

ELLIPSISM  (n) Sadness that you’ll never be able to know how history will turn out    [By John Koenig]

ELOQUENCE (n) The art of using language in an apt, fluent way   [English]

EMBASAN  (v) To wear clothes while taking a bath   [Maguindanao]

EMPECHEMENT  (n) An unexpected last-minute change of plans   [French]

ENOUEMENT  (n) The bittersweetness of having arrived in the future, seeing how things turn out, but not being able to tell your past self   [By John Koenig]

EPHEMERAL  (adj) Lasting for a very short time   [English]

EPIPHANY   (n) A moment of sudden revelation    [English]

EPOCH  (n) a particular period of time in history or a person’s life   [English]

ETHEREAL  (adj) Extremely delicate, light, not of this world   [English]

EXULANSIS  (n) The tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it   [By John Koenig]

FERNWEH  (n) A longing to travel, missing a place you’ve never been   [German]

FIRGUN  (n) The simple, unselfish joy that something good has happened to someone else   [Hebrew]

FLANEUR  (n) A person of leisure, deliberately aimless, simply wandering the streets and soaking in the city   [French]

GEBORGENHEIT  (n) The feeling of safety that comes from being with loved ones   [German]

GEZELLIGHEID  (adv) The warmth of being with loved ones   [Dutch]

GIGIL  (n) The overwhelming urge to squeeze or pinch something very cute   [Filipino]

GOYA  (n) The suspension of disbelief that occurs in good storytelling; a story that feels like reality   [Urdu]

HANYAUKU  (v) To walk on tiptoes across hot sand   [Rukwangali]

HIRAETH  (n) A homesickness for a home you can’t return to, or that never was   [English]

HYGGE  (n) An absence of anything annoying, taking pleasure from the presence of gentle or soothing things   [Danish]

ILLICIT  (adj) Not legally permitted   [English]

INCANDESCENCE  (n)  Light produced by high temperatures   [English]

INEFFABLE  (adj)  Too great to be expressed in words   [English]

IRIDESCENT  (adj) Producing a display of rainbow like colours   [English]

JAYUS  (n) A joke so poorly told and unfunny you can’t help but laugh    [Indonesian]

JOUSKA  (n) A hypothetical conversation that you compulsively play out in your head    [By John Koenig]

KENOPSIA  (n) The eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that’s usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet   [By John Koenig]

KUEBIKO  (n) A state of exhaustion inspired by acts of senseless violence   [By John Koenig]

KOMOREBI  (n) Sunlight filtering through trees    [Japanese]

KUIDAORE  (n) To eat yourself into bankruptcy   [Japanese]

LACHESISM  (n) The desire to be struck by disaster – to survive a plane crash, or to lose everything in a fire   [By John Koenig]

LAGOM  (n) Just the right amount   [Swedish]

LAOTONG  (n) A friendship bonding two girls together for eternity as kindred sisters   [Mandarin]

LIBEROSIS  (n) The desire to care less about things   [By John Koenig]

LIMERENCE  (n) The state of being infatuated with another person   [English]

LUMINESCENCE  (n) Light produced by chemical, electrical, or physiological means   [English]

MAMIHLAPINATAPAI  (n) The wordless look between two people who both desire something, yet are equally reluctant to initiate    [Yagán]

MANGATA  (n) The glimmering, rodlike reflection the moon creates on water   [Swedish]

MAUERBAUERTRAURIGKEIT  (n) The inexplicable urge to push people away, even close friends who you really like   [By John Koenig]

MELLIFLUOUS  (adj) A sound that is sweet and smooth, pleasing to hear  [English]

MERAK  (n) A sense of oneness with the universe derived from the simplest of pleasures   [Serbian]

MERAKI  (v) To do something with soul, creativity, or love; when you leave a piece of yourself in you work   [Greek]

MONACHOPSIS  (n) The subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place     [By John Koenig]

MUDITA  (n)  Taking delight in the happiness of others, vicarious joy; opposite of schadenfreude [Sanskrit]

NAZ  (n) The pride you feel from being loved   [Urdu]

NEFARIOUS  (adj) Wicked, villainous, despicable   [English]

NODUS TOLLENS  (n) The realisation that the plot of your life doesn’t make sense to you anymore   [By John Koenig]

NUNCHI  (n) The ability to gauge mood of others, read the atmosphere, and react appropriately   [Korean]

OBLIVION  (n) The state of being unaware of what is happening around you    [English]

OCCHIOLISM  (n) The awareness of the smallness of your perspective   [By John Koenig]

ONISM  (n) The frustration of being stuck in just one body, that inhabits only one place at a time   [By John Koenig]

OODAL  (n) The fake anger lovers display after a tiff   [Tamil]

OPIA  (n) The ambiguous intensity of looking someone in the eye, which can feel simultaneously invasive and vulnerable    [By John Koenig]

PETRICHOR  (n) The pleasant, earthy smell after rain   [English]

PHOSPHENES  (n) The light and colours produced  by rubbing your eyes   [English]

PROFITER  (v) To make the most of a situation   [French]

PROZVONIT  (v) To phone someone and only let it ring once so they call you back, saving you money   [Czech]

RETROUVAILLES  (n) The joy of reuniting with someone you haven’t seen in a very long time   [French]

RUBATOSIS  (n) The unsettling awareness of your own heartbeat   [By John Koenig]

RUCKKEHRUNRUHE  (n) The feeling of returning home after an immersive trip only to find it fading rapidly from your awareness   [By John Koenig]

SERENDIPITY  (n) The chance occurrence of events in a beneficial way   [English]

SHEMOMEDJAMO  (v) To continue eating past the point of being full because the food tastes so good   [Georgian]

SOBREMESA  (n) The time after lunch or dinner spent talking to the people you shared the meal with  [Spanish]

SOMNAMBULIST  (n) A person who sleepwalks   [English]

SONDER  (n) The realisation that each passerby has a life as vivid and complex as your own   [By John Koenig]

SONOROUS  (adj) An imposingly deep and full sound   [English]

SORTABLE  (adj) A person you can take anywhere without fear of being embarrassed   [French]

SUPINE  (adj) Lying face upwards   [English]

SYZYGY  (n) An alignment of celestial bodies   [English]

TIDSOPTIMIST  (n) A person who is always late because they think they have more time than they do; a time optimist   [Swedish]

TSUNDOKU  (n) The act of buying a book and leaving it unread, often piled together with other unread books    [Japanese]

UBUNTU  (n) The belief that we are defined by our compassion and kindness toward others   [Nguni]

UTEPILS  (n) To sit outside enjoying a beer on a sunny day   [Norwegian]

VELLICHOR  (n) The strange wistfulness of used bookshops    [By John Koenig]

VEMODALEN  (n) The frustration of photographing something amazing when thousands of identical photos already exist.

VIRAHA  (n) The realisation of love through separation   [Hindi]

VOORPRET  (n) Pre-fun, the sense of enjoyment felt before a party or event takes place   [Dutch]

WALDEINSAMKEIT  (n) The feeling of being alone in the woods   [German]




The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig