Do you ever feel that your snapshot of a beautiful place just can’t measure up to those taken by professionals? Maybe it seems that every photo you will ever take is already dwarfed by the sheer number of identical photos that hundreds of people are likely taking right this minute?
I mean, have you seen some of the gear that folks drag along to visit that popular tourist spot?
Did you know there’s now a word for that feeling?
It’s not a “real” word. By which I mean, you won’t find it in the Oxford Dictionary. But, in another sense, it is quite real.
John Koenig has created a project called The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, where he creates words with actual etymological roots to describe feelings that don’t have a definition. His words include “vellichor,” the thoughtful atmosphere that permeates used bookshops, and “sonder,” a noun meaning the realization that every stranger in this huge world has their own personal story, and that it is just as valid and real as your own.
What would the world be like if everyone had a basic understanding of that concept?
Though you won’t find “monachopsis” defined by Webster, I’m pretty sure we all have experienced feeling out of place.
A word exists to frame an abstract idea or visceral experience into a form that we can understand and convey to one another. So in that sense, I would argue that Koenig’s invented words are quite real. They give a voice to emotions that English-speakers have no equivalent for.
If you invented a word for something you often feel but can’t quite express, what would it be?