Cromulent, embiggen, vellichor, jouska

Jouska is a hypothetical conversation that you repeat again and again in your head.

dictionary of obscure sorrowsMy friend Dan happened upon the word cromulent and a whole bunch of other unfamiliar terms. I suggested – not that he listens – that he ought to write a blog post about words. “Nah. I do Albany along with rants about politics… Words are your thing.”

From an article by Merriam-Webster: “It is safe to say that The Simpsons has contributed a great deal to the English language. One famous example is cromulent, which was coined specifically for the 1996 episode ‘Lisa the Iconoclast.’ In reference to one character’s questioning of the use of embiggen, another says ‘it’s a perfectly cromulent word.'”

Somehow I didn’t remember cromulent, although I was still watching The Simpsons regularly at the time. However, embiggen is another story. I don’t know where I heard it but I HAVE used the word, colloquially to be sure, but still.

Dan put the word “cromulent” into Google and kept clicking on definitions on the page. His spellchecker liked none of them; after this post goes live, my Grammarly score is really going to sink.

Vellichor is the strange wistfulness of used bookstores, which are somehow infused with the passage of time—filled with thousands of old books you’ll never have time to read, each of which is itself locked in its own era, bound and dated and papered over like an old room the author abandoned years ago.”

Somehow this reminds me of that 1959 Twilight Zone episode Time Enough at Last with Burgess Meredith.

Jouska is a hypothetical conversation that you repeat again and again in your head. For example, replaying an argument in your head where you say all the right things and ‘win’ the argument.” I used to do it frequently.

Also check out chrysalism, occhiolism, and kairosclerosis. All of them, plus vellichor and jouska, appear in The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

What the heck is THAT? It is a Tumblr and YouTube channel that give us words that don’t exist in the English language but definitely should.

“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. Then release them gently back into the subconscious.”

Going to the site, I’m informed that an actual book will soon exist, from Simon & Schuster, and I may very well have to buy it.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. i hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

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