The first portion of the title of this piece contains the phrase, “I will create as I speak.” It’s the ancient Aramaic translation for the modern word, abracadabra (the actual Aramaic phrase it originates from is Avra kehdabra). I came across the translation while reading on-line and found myself suddenly lost in deep thought. The word abracadabra has been used in countless movies and magic shows over time, but until today, I did not realize its origin or real meaning. I assume most people I know wouldn’t know the exact definition either, even though they’ve also heard it countless numbers of times. It’s amazing that the word carries so much power and recognition in spite of the knowledge gap. It’s also inspiring beyond measure. I soon found myself inexplicably searching for other inspirational words, but in my usual off-the-beaten-path method, I chose to add my own personal search parameter. I wanted to create a list of amazing and inspirational words that most people likely never heard of; words that would encourage deep thinking and even though they were rare, would become a regular part of their vocabulary.
By no means was this an easy task. Randomly searching for unique words isn’t something that comes easy. Furthermore, once they’re discovered, it’s not always easy to categorize them. It’s not necessary to categorize them, but I find that offering several words related to a well-known topic helps with recall and gives the reader a firm grasp on the exact definition of the word. It’s not my goal to just share obscure words remember, but to bring those words into daily conversations. Many of these words come from outside of the United States, so you may just up your “cosmopolitan” score by interjecting them into a conversation.
Words Connected to the Moon or Darkness
I love everything about the moon. It’s scientific and mysterious, obvious but magical, and over the centuries its been worshiped, feared, adored, and even howled at. It has many “faces” each month and there are plenty of people who feel its pull when full. Some people may say I have selenophilia, which means loving the moon and finding it soothingly captivating. It’s similar sounding to selenophobia, which is a fear of the moon. Those who fear only the full moon have mestoselenophobia. Other inspiring words related to the moon and nighttime are moonglade, the track of moonlight on water and nyctophilia, the love of darkness of night or finding relaxation or comfort in darkness.
Inspirational Words Connected to the Human Mind or Inner Strengths
Another topic I looked at was the human mind. Since the earliest of times, men have been philosophizing about the human mind and all it’s capabilities. Some amazing and inspiring words have emerged; each with its own unique character. Take the word sophrosyne, it’s the word for a healthy state of mind, characterized by self-control, moderation, and a deep awareness of ones true self and resulting in true happiness. Or orenda an Iroquois word that defines the mystical force present in all people, which empowers them to affect the world of to effect changes in their own lives. It’s quite a powerful statement to sum up into a single word. Another inspiring word is querencia, which originates in Spanish. It defines a place from which one’s strength is drawn, where one feels at home; the place where you are your most authentic self. It’s often referenced in stories about bullfighting; being used to define the area a bull occupies in the ring to feel strong and safe.
Some other words that aren’t as deep include eunoia, an ancient Greek word to describe beautiful thinking; a well mind. There’s also metanoia, which is the journey of changing one’s mind, self, or way of life. After long sessions of deep thought many of us need a uitwaaien, a Dutch word which means to take a break to clear one’s head, literally “to walk in the wind.” A Japanese word wabi-sabi means the discovery of beauty in imperfection; the acceptance of the cycle of life and death. It’s a concept that originates in Buddhist teachings.
Traveling, Longing, and Thinking of Home
Boketto is a Japanese word which doesn’t have an actual translation into English, but loosely means the act of gazing vacantly into the distance without thinking. It’s when you’re in the twilight zone with a blank mind. Hiraeth is a feeling of homesickness for a home to which you cannot return or a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, yearning, or grief for the lost places of your past. The word fernweh describes an aching for distant places; the craving to travel. A yugen is an awareness of the universe that triggers emotional responses too powerful and deep for words. Natsukashii is a feeling of being suddenly, euphorically nostalgic, triggered by experiencing something for the first time in years; examples could be a song from your youth or a copy of an old yearbook being handed to you without warning.
Love and Pleasantness
There are numerous words coined throughout time to describe feelings of intimacy and love. One you likely never heard of is vorfreude, a German word which means the joyful, intense anticipation that comes from imagining future pleasures. As I researched, this word was one of my favorite. Redamancy which is the act of loving the one who loves you; a love returned in full. Eutony describe the pleasantness of a word’s sound and mizpah is the deep emotional bond between people, especially those separated by distance or death.
Words Associated with Creativity
Abracadabra certainly sets the stage for further discussion about creative words. A nefelibata describes someone who lives in the clouds of their own imagination; one who does not obey the conventions of society. We all likely know several people who fit that description. The word meraki is another ancient Greek word. It means to do something with soul, creativity, or love; to put something of yourself into your work. Another great word is duende. It’s the mysterious power of art to deeply move a person or the power to attract through personal magnetism and charm.
I came across a couple of words associated with dancing. There’s tarantism, which is overcoming melancholy by dancing; the uncontrollable urge to dance and balter, which is to dance gracelessly, without art or skill, but perhaps with some enjoyment. Those who are afflicted with the latter aren’t likely to be suffering from atelophobia, which is the fear of not being good enough. But they may have athazagoraphobia, which is the fear of forgetting, being forgotten or ignored, or being replaced.
Other Words Which I Just Couldn’t Ignore
Some of the words I came across didn’t really fit into a neat category, so they’ve ended up here in the lost and found box. There’s morosis, which means the stupidest of stupidities; stupid I know, right? Even stranger is floccinaucinihilipilification, which is the act of deciding that something is useless. A philomath is a lover of learning and petrichor is the smell outside after it rains. Phosphenes are the stars and colors you see when you rub your eyes. Sciamachy is a battle against imaginary enemies; fighting against your shadow and lacuna, a blank space or missing part.
I hoped you found enjoyment is exploring the vastness of the written language. It’s one subject which will never get boring and there’s always something worth sharing with your colleagues. So, the next time you face a quatervois, or a crossroads; a critical decision or turning point in one’s life, take a moment to find the exact word you need before moving on. I’m betting that the pause will keep you from doing anything vad (wild, untamed, uncontrolled, unregulated.)