The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows


The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is a compendium of invented words written by John Koenig. 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.

The author's mission is to capture the aches, demons, vibes, joys and urges that roam the wilderness of the psychological interior. Each sorrow is bagged, tagged and tranquilized, then released gently back into the subconscious.

▸ visit the facebook page to hear the backstory behind each word

▸ follow on twitter (@obscuresorrows) for whatever reason

▸ send me a tumblr message describing emotions you need words for

▸ send me an email via obscuresorrows@gmail.com

JOHN KOENIG is a designer and commercial director who lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. His dictionary has been acclaimed by New York Magazine, Washington Post Express, John Green, Jason Kottke, and the guys from Radiolab.

He is currently writing a book version of The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. It is gigantic and completely made up.


Copyright © 2013 John Koenig. All content is intended to be read at night.

la gaudière

n. the glint of goodness inside people, which you can only find by sloshing them back and forth in your mind until everything dark and gray and common falls away, leaving behind a constellation at the bottom of the pan—a rare element trapped in exposed bedrock, washed there by a storm somewhere upstream.

  1. ayyopyro reblogged this from ayyopyro
  2. we-were-one-cell-in-the-sea reblogged this from dictionaryofobscuresorrows
  3. thebenignbeast reblogged this from dictionaryofobscuresorrows
  4. cesca-tu-aimes-faire reblogged this from dictionaryofobscuresorrows
  5. annalgesic reblogged this from dictionaryofobscuresorrows
  6. hilabicious reblogged this from dictionaryofobscuresorrows
  7. codyldm reblogged this from scaramanzia
  8. scaramanzia reblogged this from dictionaryofobscuresorrows
  9. save-geek-monkey reblogged this from auntie-cosima
  10. auntie-cosima reblogged this from dictionaryofobscuresorrows
  11. uglysweatercult reblogged this from dictionaryofobscuresorrows
  12. detachedline reblogged this from dictionaryofobscuresorrows
  13. softscarletcarpets reblogged this from dictionaryofobscuresorrows
  14. fortunamobilis reblogged this from dictionaryofobscuresorrows
  15. bnchwarmer reblogged this from perni-cious
  16. perni-cious reblogged this from dictionaryofobscuresorrows
  17. thesweetestofloves reblogged this from dictionaryofobscuresorrows
  18. souvlakispacecat reblogged this from dictionaryofobscuresorrows
More Information