Dictionary book

The Dictionary of Obscure Pains: A Dictionary of Emotions That Haven’t Yet Been Invented

Have you ever wondered about those emotions that are beyond articulation, making us wonder if we actually felt them or if they were just a fleeting figment of our imagination?

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, an Internet project that is a collection of invented words written by John Koenig, aims to fill this gap in language by granting words to emotions we may all have felt, but have long eluded recognition. influence of the English. lexicon of the language.

By not having a word for it, these emotions and feelings remained obscured, perhaps hovering on the periphery of our consciousness, but never really being recognized as something that needed some form of existence or of articulation.

That was until Minnesota video editor, speaker, and narrator Koenig composed The Dictionary of Dark Sorrows, coining beautiful words that have now brought to life the emotions and feelings that swirl around us in its indecipherable forms.

It currently exists as a website and a YouTube channel, although the website says a book encompassing the dictionary words may be expected soon.

“All the words in this dictionary are new. They weren’t necessarily meant to be used in conversation, but to exist for themselves; to bring some semblance of order to a Dark Continent, so that you can sort it out yourself on your own terms, without feeling too lost, knowing that we are all lost,” the dictionary website reads.

Here are some of the words Koenig created under “The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows”, along with the textual meanings he assigned to them:


The realization that every random passer-by lives a life as vivid and complex as yours – populated by their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited madness – an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with passageways to thousands of other lives you’ll never know exist, in which you might only appear once, like an extra cafe sipping coffee in the background, like a blur of passing traffic on the highway, like a lighted window at dusk.


The tendency to forego talking about an experience because people are unable to relate to it – whether out of envy, pity, or sheer weirdness – which allows him to distance himself from the rest of the story of your life, until the memory itself seems irrelevant. place, almost mythical, wandering relentlessly in the fog, not even looking for where to land.


Nostalgia for a time you never knew. Imagine walking through the setting in a sepia haze, where you could sit on the side of the road and watch the locals go by. Who lived and died before any of us got here, who sleep in some of the same houses as us, who look at the same moon, who breathe the same air, feel the same blood in their veins – and live in a completely different world.


A feature of modern society that suddenly strikes you as absurd and grotesque – from zoos and milk drinking to organ transplants, life insurance and fiction – part of the faint background noise of absurdity which reverberates from when our ancestors first crawled out of the mud but couldn’t for the life of them remember what they got up to do.


The desire to care less about things – to loosen your grip on your life, to stop looking behind you with every step lest someone snatch it from you before you reach the entry zone. purpose – rather than holding your life loose and playful, like a volleyball, keeping it in the air, with only quick and fleeting interventions, bouncing freely through the hands of trusted friends, always in play.

Nodus tollens

The realization that the plot of your life no longer makes sense to you – that even though you thought you were following the story arc, you continue to find yourself immersed in passages that you don’t understand, that don’t even seem to belong to the same genre – requiring you to go back and re-read the chapters you originally went through to access the good times, to learn that along the way you were meant to choose your own adventure.


A recurring thought that only seems to hit you late at night—an overdue task, nagging guilt, a shapeless, impending future—circling above your head during the day, tingling you deep in your mind while you try to sleep, which you can successfully ignore for weeks, only to feel its presence hovering outside the window, waiting for you to finish your coffee, passing the time by quietly building a nest .


Frustration with the time it takes to get to know someone – spending the first few weeks chatting in their psychological entrance, each subsequent conversation like entering a different antechamber, each one a bit closer to the center of the house – wishing rather than you can start there and work your way up, sharing your deepest secrets first, before letting your hair down, until you’ve built up enough mystery over the years to ask them out. where they come from and what they do for a living.


The frustration of knowing how easily you fit into a stereotype, even if you never meant to, even if it’s unfair, even if everyone feels the same – each of us cheats or treats for money, respect and attention, wearing safe and predictable costume because we’re tired of answering the question, “What are you supposed to be?”


The eerie, desolate atmosphere of a place that’s usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet – a school hallway at night, a darkened office at the weekend, an empty fairground – an afterimage emotional that makes it seem not just empty but hyper-empty, with a total population in the negative, which is so conspicuously absent that it glows like neon signs.


A state of exhaustion inspired by senseless acts of violence, which forces you to revise your image of what can happen in this world – to mend the fences of your expectations, to eliminate all unwanted and intrusive truths, to cultivate the eternal good that is buried beneath the surface, and you rear up like an old scarecrow, full to bursting but unable to do anything but stand there and watch.


A conversation in which everyone talks but no one listens, just layering disconnected words like a game of Scrabble, each player borrowing bits and pieces from other trivia to boost their own score, until we all run out of stuff to say.


A moment of realizing that someone you’ve known for years still has a private and mysterious inner life, and somewhere in the hallways of their personality is a locked door from the inside, a staircase leading to a wing of the house you’ve never fully explored – an unfinished attic that will remain impossibly unknowable to you, because ultimately neither of you has a map, nor a master key, nor any way of knowing exactly where you are.


A friendship that can lie dormant for years only to instantly resume, as if no time has passed since the last time you saw each other.

Fatty organ(n): a flash of real emotion seen in someone sitting across the room, lazily cooped up in the middle of a group conversation, their eyes shining with vulnerability or quiet anticipation or cosmic boredom – as if you could see backstage through a hole in the curtains, watching stagehands holding their ropes ready, costumed actors articulating their lines, bizarre set pieces awaiting another production.

Fitzcarraldo(n): An image that somehow lodges deep in your brain – perhaps washed there by a dream, or smuggled into a book, or planted during a casual conversation – which then transforms into a wild, impractical vision that keeps jostling around in your head like a dog stuck in a car that’s about to get home, eager for a chance to leap headlong into reality.

Occhiolism(n): The realization of the smallness of your point of view, by which you absolutely could not draw meaningful conclusions, about the world or the past or the complexities of culture, for although your life is an epic and irreplaceable anecdote, she still only has a sample size of one, and may end up being the control of a much wilder experiment happening in the next room.


Weariness with the same old problems you’ve always had – the same annoying flaws and anxieties you’ve gnawed at for years, leaving them soggy, tasteless and inert, with nothing left to think about, nothing worth thinking about. There’s nothing else to do but Spit them out and take a walk in the garden, ready to dig up fresher pain than you might have buried long ago.


Feeling the quiet pleasure of being near a gathering but not quite in it – hovering on the perimeter of a campfire, chatting outside a party while others dance inside, resting your head in the back seat of a car listening to your friends chatting in the front – feeling perfectly invisible but still fully included, knowing that everyone is together and everyone is fine, with all the thrill to be there without the burden of having to be.