Wednesday Words – When English Falls Short


Melancholy by Aleph78 on Flickr. He has graciously licensed its use under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic

All languages have their shortcomings. Sometimes words in our native tongue fail us. For me that seems to happen in English when it comes to emotions. There are feelings we all have but are hard to describe. Today I turn to German for a feeling I once described as melancholia but knew that didn’t quite capture the nuisances of the feeling now I have a word that does and I shall, in great English tradition, borrow it from German. It’s…

senhsuct – noun German- the inconsolable longing for we know not what; yearning for something currently unknown and undefined.

A friend once called it divine restlessness that precedes a change.  Which is the best English description of it I’ve heard.  It’s that desire to find the unknown, the undefined one so longs for that brings about the change.  I think.  I think senhsuct pushes us to know it, define it, and change to achieve so that we are consoled.

4 thoughts on “Wednesday Words – When English Falls Short

  1. Hello Mary Louise,
    I love this post πŸ™‚
    Oh, how I wish I were multilingual so that I could choose from any number of languages to fully express myself.
    Thank you for introducing me to this word “senhsuct.”
    Funny you should mention German. I’ve always wanted to go to Germany. My ‘godmother’ was from Pirmasens. My Dad was an MP based at Grunstadt/Sembach Airbase back in the early to mid-1960’s.
    I loved hearing all the stories about the beautiful castles there πŸ™‚

    • I do wish I was multi lingual. However I have found my study of Latin does help but my Egyptian hieroglyphics doesn’t we don’t even know what that language sounded like but I could do interesting cursing graffiti

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