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Writing Wednesday: The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

This Writing Wednesday I thought I’d link you up to this fantastic website. There are all of these words appearing on the internet describing strange emotions. I didn’t realise that these words were written by one man until I found this Ted talk where he discusses his site “The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows”. The author, John Koenig is attempting to fill the holes in our language and enhance our ability to express the deep existential feelings of the human condition that don’t currently have a name.

He perfectly describes these fleeting sensations, some of which we can all recognise. The words are gaining traction and the internet has taken them to heart. People are using them in conversation both online and in the real world. Sonder is perhaps the most famous; the realisation that everyone is the hero in their own story and that every person that drifts into your life has their own thoughts, experiences and ambitions. I love Chrysalism; the tranquillity of being inside during a thunderstorm. Me and my friend were laughing at how relate-able anecdoche is; a conversation in which everyone is talking and no one is listening.

From a creative writing perspective it’s exciting to be reminded that there is no reason why we can’t inventing our own language. It’s reaffirming to define the undefinable and to have language to describe the intricacies of our experience. I’ve also been using them to makes great writing prompts as well as to build the hidden depths of my characters.

I hope you found this post interesting. Let me know your favourite word in the comments.

5 thoughts on “Writing Wednesday: The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

  1. I love neologisms. I relate to chrysalism but I would want a word that reflects the elation I feel when tucked up in bed and suddenly hearing a heavy burst of raindrops being blown at the windows -it is the best feeling. I think it would be something like ‘cavemanophoria’ -the euphoria a caveman must have felt seeing the elements raining down at the opening to his cave as he sits with a burning log fire eating his midnight snack of mammoth jerky!

    Great article Faye Catherine 😀


    1. I love it so much, it’s so nice to be in bed all warm when it’s lashing it down outside! Apparently he’s going to release a book so I’m excited to give that to everyone I know as a gift for the rest of my life! 😂 I absolutely have Koinophobia, the fear that you’ve lives an ordinary life, I always think I should be doing something more exciting to stave off future regret! Mmm mammoth jerky 😂

      Liked by 1 person

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