Nameless Emotions

Feeling like crying for no apparent reason, wanting to recover what we feel at a certain moment, realizing that we have a very common life … We are surrounded by nameless emotions in our daily lives

Many of us have felt those nameless sensations or emotions that we wish we could have described in words but find it difficult and complicated. Although this question depends a lot on the geographical place where we are.

There are languages ​​like that of the indigenous Yámanas of Tierra del Fuego that create words to express complex emotions. For example, Mamihlapinatapai, which is attributed to a gaze between two people, each of whom waits for the other to begin an action that they both want but that neither of them dares to initiate.

Surprisingly, it seems that this uncertain situation has caused great interest to John Koening, an American designer and publisher who has set out to solve at least a few of these nameless emotions.

The infinite dictionary of emotions

One night John Koening had a revelation: there are thousands of new feelings that have not been associated with words. At that moment, Koening made the decision to write a dictionary that would collect all those nameless emotions,  all those feelings orphaned of denominations.

Koening called this compilation of emotions ” The Dictionary of Dark Sorrows.”  An infinite dictionary, because emotions are continually being born to which we must give a name so that they become part of our vocabulary. Here are some of the emotions that as of today already have a name.


We continually pass people on the street, in the subway, on a beach, and for a few seconds we look into their eyes. We feel as if we are being eavesdropped through a hole in the wall and we are filled with a deep sense of vulnerability.

One of the nameless emotions that ceased to be a denomination orphan is orpia, refers to the ambiguous intensity of looking someone in the eye, known today or very recently.

Yu yi

Remember the last time you loved someone and how you felt: full, at peace, happy, completely vibrant. And every time you remember that feeling, you want with all your heart to feel it again. Thus, the desire to intensely feel something again is currently known as yuyí.


A meeting in which all the attendees speak, a conversation in which all our friends tell things at the same time, a meal with family in which everyone shouts. Nobody stops to listen, to pay attention to what another person says.

Last night refers to a conversation in which everyone is talking, but no one is listening. A confusion is created in which we cannot understand anything and that generates frustration.


As we get older, as we get older, time goes by much faster. Years are minutes and this accelerated time causes us a feeling of loss, of not being able to take advantage of every second. Zenosquine corresponds to the feeling that time is going faster and faster.


Throughout our lives many things change and we feel the need to change ourselves, but it scares us. We are afraid of the opinion of others, of our own feelings, of uncertainty about the future … The fear of not being able to change is called alazia.


The sensation we feel when we enter an empty or abandoned church, on a soccer field where no game is played; it is a feeling of emptiness, of abandonment, of unease. Koening calls the eerie sad atmosphere of a place that is usually crowded but is now abandoned and quiet kenopsia.


After a conversation in which we have not said what we wanted to say, out of fear, because they have not let us speak, or because we have felt so bad that we have not been able to articulate a word, a new conversation is generated in our head that is repeated continuously referred to as Jouska.


Liberosis corresponds to the desire that things and situations matter less to us. A love disappointment, an argument with our boss, a misunderstanding with a friend, are situations that affect us a lot and that although they happen often, they make us feel bad and we want them to matter less, feel less.

“Emotions are like wild horses. They are not explanations that help us to move on, but rather our will to move on. “

-Paulo Coelho-