The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
June 22, 2010 11:24 AM   Subscribe

rialtoscuro n. disorientation when you step outside a movie theater into unexpected darkness, a twinge of jet lag from two hours of escapist fun which only diverts you from making the sequel to your youth—an old cult classic with wild shifts in tone, dropped subplots, major characters that appear out of nowhere only to vanish without explanation, and an ambiguous ending—but this time, it’s personal. The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
posted by xod (25 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
Is there one for eyes glossing over over overly descriptive language in made-up dictionary definitions ?
posted by Sys Rq at 11:41 AM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

This reminds me of something in "Everything is Illuminated."
posted by millipede at 11:41 AM on June 22, 2010


adj. in the mood to get struck by lightning, to stand in an open field and be singled out and drafted by the universe because of your innate potential to resolve a battle between faceless titans roaring in the sky, a task which doesn’t require you to write a cover letter.

FINALLY, I feel like this twice a week.
posted by The Whelk at 11:42 AM on June 22, 2010 [9 favorites]

BLOCKED: Inappropriate content or functionality

Category / Categorie: "Potentially Damaging Content"

My obscure sorrow meets your obscure sorrow.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:43 AM on June 22, 2010

snigletdown n. feeling of disappointment when you were hoping for a vortex of self-reference but instead found 0 result(s) for “sniglet
posted by DU at 11:43 AM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

I love these. Most of them start out so great then get a little desperate and random. But the initial hit is usually wonderful.
posted by Faze at 11:45 AM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

This website makes me want to burn a thesaurus.
posted by nathancaswell at 11:45 AM on June 22, 2010

Also, the idea behind this is pretty great, but the execution drives me nuts. It was better in "Everything is Illuminated." These are far too verbose and almost purposefully twee.
posted by millipede at 11:45 AM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]



The pang of lost and hurt deep in your soul when your notice your favorite count has gone down.
posted by The Whelk at 11:45 AM on June 22, 2010 [5 favorites]

analexia n. a period of six microseconds of alienation borne from the suspicion that your toilet technique is different from most other people.
posted by xod at 11:53 AM on June 22, 2010 [3 favorites]

Finally, sniglets describing 90% of my emotions.
posted by adipocere at 11:55 AM on June 22, 2010

I love the idea, but I wish they were more obscure. Knight Rider syndrome? Everyone has been let down by pop culture nostalgia. Flop flip? Sure, there have been movies that directors hype before they're released, then say something was missing in the final edit.

Now I want to start my own dictionary of actually obscure sorrows (and you can help!)

HumeLakeLurkLove n. The fear of something lurking in the bottom Hume Lake which pushes you to swim across the lake, even though the cold pockets and imagined tendrils of unknown creatures spook you out like none other.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:01 PM on June 22, 2010 [3 favorites]

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows elegy: n. a sentence whose first few words trigger anticipation that you are about to identify with something, but whose remainder consists of overwritten, awkwardly poeticish run-on phrases that cause your hopeful anticipation to dissipate, like the beads of nervous sweat on the quivering buttocks of some ancient Olympic athlete, wicked away by the whispering wind into which he runs, with difficulty, because his second toes are longer than his big toes.
posted by sallybrown at 12:03 PM on June 22, 2010 [17 favorites]

There's no photo of the author, but I'm guessing early to mid 20's, only wears black, and has a long greasy shock of hair obscuring at least one eye.
posted by rocket88 at 12:10 PM on June 22, 2010

As with many things, it was done better the (n-x)th time around.

(Where n = the number of times a action was taken has been published (in this case, a sniglet compilation) and x = the number of said occurrences since Douglas Adams (and John Lloyd) had a go at it.)
posted by m@f at 12:46 PM on June 22, 2010

Makes sense that this is on Tumblr. It goes well with the vaguely emo/artistic/nostalgic photos-with-text that get reblogged there a lot.

But anyway, this definition reminds me of The Moviegoer by Walker Percy, which does it better but is also insufferable in its own way:
Yesterday evening I noticed in the Picayune that another western was playing at the same theater...There was this: a mockery about the old seats, their plywood split, their bottoms slashed, but enduring nevertheless as if they had waited to see what I had done with my fourteen years. There was this also: a secret sense of wonder about the enduring, about all the nights, the rainy summer nights at twelve and one and two o'clock when the seats endured alone in the empty theater.
posted by dreamyshade at 12:48 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Some more fun (real) words:

Gargalesis - Heavy tickling
Knismesis - Light tickling
Tarantism - An urge to overcome melancholy by dancing
Petrichor - The smell of rain on dry ground
Thelema - Permitting people to do as they like
Brontide - The low rumbling of distant thunder
Cacoethes - A bad habit or insatiable urge
Cagamosis - An unhappy marriage
Estrapade - A horses's attempt to remove its rider
Gambrinous - Being full of beer
Hadeharia - The practice of constantly using the word "Hell"
Hamartithia - Being likely to make a mistake
Lalochezia - The use of foul or abusive language to relieve stress
Nepheligenous - Producing clouds of tobacco smoke
Nidorosity - Belching with the taste of undigested meat
Dactylion - The tip of the middle finger
Mulligrubs - A state of depression or low spirits
Qualtagh - The first person you see after leaving your house
Quidnunc - One who always wants to know what is going on
Slubberdegullion - A filthy, slobbering person
Steatopygian - Having a fat behind
Strikhedonia - The pleasure of being able to say to hell with it
posted by Rhaomi at 2:08 PM on June 22, 2010 [12 favorites]

Gambrinous is going to be jolliest man in Thelema let me tell you.
posted by The Whelk at 2:13 PM on June 22, 2010

The pang of lost and hurt deep in your soul when your notice your favorite count has gone down.

The pain is probably caused by the fangs.

Two! Two fangs! Ah-ah-ah!
posted by Sys Rq at 2:17 PM on June 22, 2010 [3 favorites]

This one badly needs a name:
...As, in a theatre,
The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed
With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness,
And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama
And the bold imposing facade are all being rolled away—
Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too long between stations
And the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence
And you see behind every face the mental emptiness deepen
Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about;
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 2:51 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

"Two! Two fangs! Ah-ah-ah!"
Here's an obscure sorrow: When you want to give a comment -2 favorites for making a vaguely sexual reference about a muppet you always identified with your grandpa, but since the comment made you laugh also you have to give it a favorite anyway.
posted by amethysts at 3:13 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Rhaomi: Firefox's inbuilt dictionary can't find a single one of those. Well done.

1: The moment of regret when you realise you no longer own favourite a childhood toy.

2: The moment of regret when you realise a favourite childhood toy is on eBay for $500.
posted by Leon at 4:20 PM on June 22, 2010

This was exactly what I needed to read today. For what it's worth, I love these.
posted by Tesseractive at 6:55 PM on June 22, 2010

I think this is hilarious. :)
posted by nihraguk at 12:21 AM on June 23, 2010

I agree that some of them are a little bit eh, but overall I like it. =)
posted by aliceinreality at 9:34 AM on June 23, 2010

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