The other day I was trying to come up with a word (and it would be fabulous if I could remember what that word was) and I realized there are certain gaps in the English language that need to be filled. So I asked my fellow Miss Demeanors: Are there any words for things that you think should exist but don’t?
Paula: I always thought there should be an antonym for the word schadenfreude, which rather than meaning taking pleasure in another’s misfortune would mean taking pleasure in another’s good fortune. Maybe if we had a word for it we would find it easier to do.
Tracee: You are so right. We have words for bemoaning bad news affecting others but nothing specifically celebrating the good news. Sadly this doesn’t exist in any language I’m familiar with…. I’d like to think it does in Danish, they are a happy people.
Michele: How can that be, Paula? I’m picturing the joyful faces of all the writers who attend other writers’ launches and amazed, but agree we have no word for this! Let’s invent one!!
Paula: In researching Happier Every Day, I found a lot of words for certain kinds of happiness that exist only in other languages:Il bel far niente: Italian, literally meaning the beauty of doing nothingForeisket: Norwegian for that special euphoria you get when you first fell in love Hyggeligt: Danish for the cozy kind of happiness you feel when, say, you’re sitting in front of the fire on s snowy day with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate
Tracee: But these aren’t exactly the same, are they? Each very specific but still nothing for joy for someone else’s success! Time to invent…. or maybe we’re just not cut out to do this as a society….
Connie: I’m glad there are so many words to describe the different kinds of happiness. What I want is a single word for the feeling of sand slipping away under your feet as the tide pulls out. I thought way too long about that once. And that particular smell of an antique shop, dusty, musty, dry. And also that combination of joy and regret as autumn draws toward winter.
Alexia: Too much joy going on in this email chain (says the resident cynic). 😉
How about a word to describe the strong desire to post a comment offering factual evidence to refute a social media “provocateur” (which is not the term I use in my head for this type of individual)?
And a word for successfully resisting the urge to post such a comment because you know responding to provocateurs will suck you into a social media comments thread vortex from which you may never emerge?
Tracee: I applaud your stoicism in the face of technology. Will that work? Maybe we do need a modern word….
Alexia: So. Hard. Not. To. Respond.
Robin: The act of refuting social media opinions espoused as fact and correcting faulty “facts” with provable facts used to be called “trolling.” Like most Internet vernacular, the word’s definition has twisted 180 degrees (“hackers” used to be good guys). I definitely think there should be a word for resisting the urge to comment/correct/get involved in rants. Or an award.
Alexia: Here’s another one. Rather, this should be another one. What’s a word for those times when you see someone you want to avoid standing at the far end of the hall so you pretend you forgot something and turn and go back the way you came just to avoid dealing with the person?
Michele: There’s already a word for that last one, Alexia. It’s called self-preservation.
Michele: Okay, it only took a quick trip to the grocery story for me to find a word that doesn’t exist, but is badly needed in the English language. It would express strong, close to violent, opposition to all things flavored or scented or shaped PUMPKIN! That would include lattes, donuts, cologne, car fresheners, toothpaste, and definitely blue porcelain pumpkins with sparkles. Good lord, is there a place on the planet where I can be safe from this pumpkin madness? I think not, but at least there should be a word I can express my intense anti-pumpkin sentiment through. I think even Charlie Brown must be incensed.
Tracee: I’m with Michele, a blanket description for being anti-pumpkin (which excludes the actual pumpkin). It’s the spin offs that have to go.
How about you, friends? Any words you’d like to see?