English is a rich and robust language. The Second Edition of the Oxford Dictionary contains entries for 171,476 words in current use, roughly 9,500 derivatives, and 47,156 obsolete words. So how is it that we’re often at a loss for an appropriate word when experiencing certain feelings and emotions?

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is a web series that defines newly invented words for strangely powerful emotions. Written, edited, and narrated by John Koenig, each entry is accompanied by a brief video that defines the new word in images and voice, conveying an emotion or feeling most of us have experienced at some point.

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For instance, Avenoir – the desire to see memories in advance, to which Koenig adds, “We take it for granted that life moves forward. But you move as a rower moves, facing backwards: you can see where you’ve been, but not where you’re going. And your boat is steered by a younger version of you. It’s hard not to wonder what life would be like facing the other way…”  Or Kudoclasm, when lifelong dreams are brought down to earth.

And aren’t we all addicted to our smart phone cameras? Koenig has a word for that: Morii, the desire to capture a fleeting experience with a camera. “With every click of the shutter, you’re trying to press pause on your life, if only so you can feel a little more comfortable moving on living in a world stuck on play,” Koenig explains. Watch the Morii video on Koenig’s website where you can find his other words and videos; he also has a YouTube channel.

About the author

Rebecca Wallick

Rebecca is a freelance writer and publisher living near McCall, Idaho. A Seattle native and recovering attorney, she much prefers the quiet, slow pace, and distinct seasons of the West Central Mountains, enjoying the skiing, hiking and running opportunities provided by the nearby Payette National Forest. Rebecca is a Contributing Editor with Bark magazine, and the author of Growing Up Boeing: The Early Jet Age Through the Eyes of a Test Pilot’s Daughter (Feb 2014).

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