23 Names of Emotions You Feel, but Can’t Explain

I came across one of those anonymous Facebook graphics that one normally tends to ignore, but for some reason it caught my attention and being someone who is interested in both language and psychology, the combination of the two was interesting to me.

Here are 23 names for feelings you likely experience often, but never knew had identities:

  • Sonder: The realization that each passerby has a life as vivid and complex as your own.


  • Opia: The ambiguous intensity of looking someone in the eye, which can feel simultaneously invasive and vulnerable.


  • Monachopsis: The subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place.


  • Enouement: The bittersweetness of having arrived in the future, seeing how things turn out, but not being able to tell your past self.


  • Vellichor: The strange wistfulness of used bookshops.


  • Rubatosis: The unsettling awareness of your own heartbeat.


  • Kenopsia: The eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that is usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet.


  • Mauerbauertraurigkeit: The inexplicable urge to push people away, even close friends who you really like.


  • Jouska: A hypothetical conversation that you compulsively play out in your head.


  • Chrysalism: The amniotic tranquility of being indoors during a thunderstorm.


  • Vemödalen: The frustration of photographing something amazing when thousands of identical photos already exist.


  • Anecdoche: A conversation in which everyone is talking, but nobody is listening.


  • Ellipsism: A sadness that you’ll never be able to know how history will turn out.


  • Kuebiko: A state of exhaustion inspired by acts of senseless violence.


  • Lachesism: The desire to be struck by disaster – to survive a plane crash, or to lose everything in a fire.


  • Exulansis: The tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it.


  • Adronitis: Frustration with how long it takes to get to know someone.


  • Rückkerhrunruhe: The feeling of returning home after an immersive trip only to find it fading rapidly from your awareness.


  • Nodus Tollens: The realization that the pot of your life doesn’t make sense to you anymore.


  • Onism: The frustration of being stuck in just one body, that inhabits only one place at a time.


  • Liberosis: The desire to care less about things.


  • Altschmerz: Weariness with the same old issues that you’ve always had – the same boring flaws and anxieties that you’ve been gnawing on for years.


  • Occhiolism: The awareness of the smallness of your perspective.


Now, the challenge is, how do we work these into everyday conversations?


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5 thoughts on “23 Names of Emotions You Feel, but Can’t Explain

  1. Hi James I really enjoyed this post and think you would enjoy the work of Karla McLaren if you don’t already know her. Take care Jen

  2. As an author and editor, I enjoyed this article immensely. Thank you for sharing these words. A couple of them are an excellent fit for the next book in my horror series–great timing!

    1. These are all written by a man that runs a website called “The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows”. A lot of interesting points of view, though almost all are made up by the writer.

  3. Enjoyed reading those! I identified with a couple of the terms, but never knew there was a name for the emotion. Now, I know- thanks to you!

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