If you’ve ever had a feeling you couldn’t describe, there’s a good chance there’s a word for it now.
Graphic designer John Koenig has written a collection of invented words, called The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, to illustrate the gaps in language when we experience feelings that can’t be described, and can leave us feeling like the only person who's ever experienced them.
He's also taken to YouTube to explain some of his inventions in more detail.
Here are some of the words Koenig has conjured up:
when lifelong dreams are brought down to earth
the intensity of looking someone in the eye
a longing for the clarity of disaster.
The apocalypse is one of the oldest fantasies we have, but it’s not about skipping to the end of the story. It's a longing for revelation, a revealing of what we already know, but cannot see: that none of this is guaranteed. and there’s no such thing as “ordinary life”
4. Dès vu:
the awareness that the experience you’re in now will become a memory
the fear that you’ve lived an ordinary life
6. Fata organa:
a flash of real emotion glimpsed in someone sitting across the room, idly locked in the middle of some group conversation, their eyes glinting with vulnerability or quiet anticipation or cosmic boredom—as if you could see backstage through a gap in the curtains
the frustration of knowing how easily you fit into a stereotype
the frustration of photographing something amazing when thousands of identical photos already exist, which can turn a unique subject into something hollow and pulpy and cheap, like a mass-produced piece of furniture you happen to have assembled yourself