Unknown Emotions: 23 Emotions people feel, but can’t explain


1. Sonder

The realization that each passer-by has a life as vivid and complex as your own.

2. Opia

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

3. Monachopsis

The subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place.

4. Énouement

The bittersweetness of having arrived in the future, seeing how things turn out, but not being able to tell yourself.

5. Vellichor

The strange wistfulness of used book shops.

6. Nodus Tollens

The realisation that the plot of your life doesn’t make sense to you anymore.

7. Onism

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

8. Liberosis

The desire to care less about things.

9. 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.

10. Occhiolism

The awareness of the smallest of your perspective.

11. Anecdoche

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

12. Ellipsism

A sadness that you’ll never be able to know how history turns out.

13. Kuebiko

A state of exhaustion inspired by acts of senseless violence.

14. Lachesism

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

15. Exulansis

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

16. Adronitis

Frustration with how long it takes to get to know someone.

17. Rückkehrunruhe

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

18. Rubatosis

The unsettling awareness of your own heartbeat.

19. Kenopsia

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

20. Mauerbauertraurigkeit

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

21. Jouska

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

22. Chrysalism

The ammonitic tranquillity of being indoors during a thunderstorm.

23. Vemödalen

The frustration of photographic something amazing when thousands of identical photos already exist.


*Artwork by Rafal Oblinksi


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