Martijn Schirp 4 min read

There’s a Word for That: 25 Expressions You Should Have in Your Vocabulary

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There’s a Word for That: 25 Expressions You Should Have in Your Vocabulary

Recently I came across this amazing little Tumblr named


Wordly‘ – itself a play on words. It consists of a collection of strange and lovely words from different languages through different times. What I like most about this selection of consonants and vowels – little meaning-carrying packages of vibration – is that they all try to point to the unspeakable, the transient or the neglected. That which we forget in the busyness of our daily grind. Words have the power to remind us – and therefore we should choose our words carefully so we are reminded of the things that nourish our souls.

You can find my favourite words below – pick five that resonate most, write them down, yes seriously – go grab a pen -, make sure to learn them by heart, teach them to your inner voice and share them with others to guide our collective attention to what truly matters. Oh – and don’t forget to visit and follow the Tumblr


Wordly‘ to find more words, to support the author and perhaps send a special word you know her way.

1 – Sophrosyne


pronunciation | “so-frO-‘sU-nA
Greek script | σωφροσύνη
note | To everyone who is thinking “I want to get there” and also to everyone who is thinking “I’ll never get there”—you will. Even if it’s a battle, keep fighting, because you are good and strong and valuable, and your happiness is worth it.

2 – Vorfreude


pronunciation | ‘for-froi-duh

3 – Numinous


pronunciation | ‘nU-mi-nus
note | The word originated in religious usage, but it can be applied to natural experiences as well as supernatural. It can also mean “suggesting the presence of something holy or divine”.

4 – Nemophilist


pronunciation | ne-‘mo-fe-list

5 – Sillage


pronunciation | ‘sE-yazh
notes | sillage is how close a perfume stays to your skin; perfume with light sillage does not leave much trace in the air. also, not to be confused with silage (sy-ladzh), which is a type of cow food.

6 – Erlebnisse


pronunciation | Ar-‘lEb-nis-e (ayr-LEEB-nis-eh)
singular | Erlebnis

7 – Koyaanisqatsi


pronunciation | koy-an-Es-kot-sA

8 – Meliorism


pronunciation | ‘mE-lE-or-iz-m

9 – Fernweh


pronunciation | FEIRN-veyh, with fei as in feint

10 – Ostranenie


pronunciation | ‘os-tra-“nen-E
note | generally used as an art term
Russian | остранение

11 – Smultronställe


pronunciation | “smUl-tron-‘stel-e

12 – Mamihlapinatapai


pronunciation | ma-mE-la-pin-ya-ta-pI

Original art by a2star.

13 – Rasasvada


pronunciation | ‘ra-sas-“va-da

14 – Acatalepsy


pronunciation | a-‘cat-a-lep-sE

15 – Weltanschauung


pronunciation | wElt’-An-sh-au-“unG

16 – Hiraeth


pronunciation | ‘hEr-rIth (HEER-eyeth, with a fast heer and a soft th)

17 – Nefelibata


pronunciation | ne-fe-lE-‘ba-ta

18 – Firgun


pronunciation | fEr-‘gOn
Hebrew script | פירגון

19 – Metanoia


pronunciation | (meh-tah-NOY-ah)

20 – Dérive


pronunciation | de-‘rEv

21 – Orenda


pronunciation | or-en-da

22 – Sehnsucht


pronunciation | zEn-‘zUkt

23 – Tsundoko


pronunciation | tsUn-dO-kU (tsoon-doh-koo)

Japanese script | 積ん読 kanji, つんどく hiragana

24 – Gezellig


pronunciation | CHe-‘zel-iCH (CH being a soft guttural sound, as in German; something like a rough h)

25 – Cafuné


pronunciation | \ka-‘fU-nA\ (ka-foo-nay)

Which five are your favourites?

Original art by a2star.

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