Giving Names to Feelings You Couldn’t Explain

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There are times that you cannot find the actual word to express the emotion you are feeling at the moment. This is in itself deeply frustrating. Emotions will serve as your signal and not finding the right words or not being able to identify it is a waste. It is time that you are not left in the dark.


The good news is that John Koenig, a writer, gave words for the feelings you couldn’t explain or give a name. He wrote the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. Here are some feelings or emotions you couldn’t explain:


Sonder refers to that moment when you realize that every random passer-by is living a life as complex and intense as yours. You realize that their life is also filled with ambitions, routines, friends, worries and even craziness.

Hanker Sore

If you find someone so attractive that it actually annoys you that is called hanker sore.

Mal de Coucou

Mal de coucou refers to an event which you have an overly active social life but at the end of the day you still find that you have few close friends.


Have you ever felt exhausted with same old issues that you have always faced? That is called altschemerz. People who always face the same old issues have this soggy life.


If you experienced a trance-like state when you see raindrops or trees leaning, that is called ambedo. You will be completely absorbed that even the tiniest details of things you notice. These events will make you feel alive.



Liberosis refers to the desire of caring less about things around you. For once, you loosen your grip and stop looking behind.


The feeling of strange dreaminess of bookstores – plagued with myriad of old books that you will have no time to read.


Have you ever felt a moment when you realize that you are happy that the brain is trying to savour it? The brain identified your happiness and trying to put it in context until it slowly dissolves and become an aftertaste or a memory.


Nighthawk is not your ideal feeling because it only strikes you at night. If you are still thinking of an overdue task, shapeless future and other negative things that will taunt you like a shadow in the window waiting.


Paro refers to the feeling that regardless of what you do, you always think that it is wrong.


Midsummer refers to your coming of age. It is celebrated on the day of your twenty sixth birthday – when your youth finally expires.

Now Singaporeans can express English clearly by putting names to feelings that you cannot identify.


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