"Mauerbauertraurigkeit" (n): The inexplicable urge to push people away, even the ones you really like.

How would you describe the unsettling feeling you get when you suddenly become aware of your own heartbeat?

Probably not well, considering that the Internet age has all but distilled our vocabularies down to a few, single letters.




Yet, every day, we feel hundreds of feelings we can't describe; feelings that everyone has but simply lacks the lexicon to discuss.

Thankfully, graphic designer John Koenig has sought for years to fill holes in language that describe the emotions that we all feel, but fail to communicate.

Since 2009, his website: The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows has attempted to assign words to all the nebulous feels we get, finally equipping us barely literate humanoids with the means to express ourselves beyond the limits of colloquial speech.

According to Koening, “Each original definition aims to fill a hole in the language — to give a name to emotions we all might experience but don’t yet have a word for. Each word actually means something etymologically, having been built from one of a dozen languages or renovated jargon.”

Here are 20 pieces of his finest work: