What's That Thing Where You Feel That Thing and It Makes That Other Thing Happen?

The Emotionary is trying to answer that question.
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(PHOTO: GREEBLIE/FLICKR)

(PHOTO: GREEBLIE/FLICKR)

You know that sudden rush of existential dread that comes from your alarm seemingly going off just moments after you shut your eyes and you are no longer able to ignore the cosmically-pointless-but-personally-frightening impending machinations of the day ahead? Or that thing where you see a dog, blissfully unaware of the futility of its own existence, getting sprayed in the stomach by a water hose and you can't help but wonder why not me?

There are no words for those feelings because there are no words for a lot of feelings. Other languages often do a better job—think "schadenfreude," or the Czech word "litost," meaning "a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery"—at capturing these more complex feeling that are part this, part that, and part something else too. (If you want to be frightened by the different "failures" of language, go read Joshua Foer's New Yorker story from last December.) But that's where The Emotionary is trying to come in.

Inspired (maybe) by The New YorkTimes Magazine's "There Should Be a Word for That" feature in The One-Page Magazine, The Emotionary calls itself "an emotional toolbox that can help you figure out exactly what you're feeling." The site, basically, is trying to define as many different, currently-undefined emotions that it can, so we can "actually be aware of our emotions so we can talk about them together." A quick sampling of some of the new words:

• Incredulation, n.: the surprised excitement when something you were dreading goes incredibly well

• Dispursue, v.: to actively seek out disappointment/failure

• Intempetent, adj.: possessing the inability to live in the present

Now go read the rest at the site, and send in your submissions. One day we will have a word for that urge but ultimate inability to open one's car door when a motorcyclist is weaving through traffic. One day.

(Thanks to The Hairpin for the tip.)

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