English needs some new words

Admittedly already blessed with a rich vocabulary, English still can use some help.

  1. There’s a device in lyrics that needs a name. It’s when a phrase or word is used to mean one thing, and then the singer’s meaning shifts so that the second meaning is evident. For example, in a country song, the singer tells of seeing a funny scene in a restaurant window, but admits that the retelling may not seem funny: “I guess you had to be there.” The singer describes seeing a couple on a date, obviously in love, the connection between them palpable. Then the singer realizes that one of the two is the singer’s spouse; what’s being witnessed is an adulterous affair. The singer mournfully reflects that she herself had already withdrawn from the marriage and isolated her husband, and on reflection she isn’t surprised that he sought intimacy and love elsewhere: “I guess you had to be there,” she sings again, now directed at her husband, who we belatedly realize is the other person listening to her.

We need a short word or phrase for that - I think I asked if one existed several years ago in a thread, and didn’t get any good answers. That’s a phrasing technique called … ____________?

  1. I watched a young singer named Andrea Ross on YouTube this morning sing a song from “Evita,” and I fell in love with her.

But not really. I don’t want to cuddle her, bang her, marry her, or take care of her in any way. It’s not even affection I feel – I don’t even know her! What I really want is to rule the world so that she can sing to me at my command. I am jealous of her ability to sing when I can’t and jealous of everyone who gets to hear her when I don’t. That’s not love. It’s the sort of pseudo-love that makes people cage birds, maybe. But even if I did rule the world I would not kidnap Ms. Ross, of course.


But my despotic dreams aside, give me a better word than love to describe this feeling.


Isn’t that admiration (or intense admiration?)

Or maybe you’re “captivated” by her?

We need at least a dozen new words to replace “love”, ,to cover my mother, my wife, my daughter, Cate Blanchett, Michael Ondaatje, butter-pecan ice cream, Kyrgyzstan, the call of oropendolas, 1938 Citroens, starry nights, old stamps . . .

Eskimos have 38 words for snow, we have one for love.

Same thing with ‘friend’. Saying someone is your friend gives essentially zero information other than you have met them (maybe not even in person these days) and you don’t hate each other. A friend can mean someone you grew up with, knows more about you than anyone else and saved your life before or it can just mean that dorky girl at work that invites herself to lunch with your group every other Friday.

English is great overall but it sucks at words for specific types of relationships.

Isn’t the first one equivocation?

Not sure if there is a word in English for this, odds are we’ll need to turn to German.


I want a word for the specific kind of resentment, despair and depression that is caused by one’s friends being successful.

And, again, to follow Mtgman, I wouldn’t be surprised if German has one.

I just need “tharn” to become a regularly-used English word, in dictionaries. There is no satisfying substitute.

This (and I don’t speak any Inuk language, so I have to rely on others) seems to be a factoid.
Here’s a refution of it (though, mind you, it might not be the last word!)

I’ve always been puzzled by why this hasn’t been settled once and for all by simply asking an Eskimo.

Surely, there must be at least one on this board. Paging Eskimo Dopers!

Is there a word that means “pretending to be morally superior and judgmental of something, so one can enjoy it?”

Like a movie that has a rape scene, or minors (the characters, not the actors) having sex, and ostensibly it’s shown so we can all tut-tut it, but everyone sure seems to like it.

Same whenever that news story pops up with the latest high school teacher to bed one of her students.

Or the very anti-gay crusader goes looking for all the gay porno he can to vilify it.

I sued to think it was “prurient,” but I learned that just means appealing to our dirty, dirty sex drive, without the holier-than-thou pretense.

Eduerfnedahcs - Misery at the fortune of others.

Just kidding, that’s not really a word, it’s just schadenfreude spelled backwards.

But maybe it should be a word.


You, sir, are a genius. That’s it.


I like “freudenschade.” Instead of “harm-joy,” it would be “joy-harm,” or the sorrow that stems from others’ joy.

Totally made-up, of course, but not by me. I just stole it.

How about “Platonic crush”, as in “You have a Platonic crush on her”

Based on the little I know about German, you can easily create complex words by stringing together simpler words, so Bricker’s word would be “Iwanttoruletheworldsothatshecansingtomeatmycommand” :slight_smile:

Isn’t this just “envy”?

I suppose so. I retract my post.

Although “envy” still doesn’t feel like it has quite the level of toxicity that I’m after.

How about bilious green billowing envy? That’s more than a tad stronger.

And we all know the fundamental SI unit of enviosity is the “tad”, named for that famous millionaire playboy, polo star, and all around *bon vivant *Tad Swift-Smythe.

It just occurred to me that I want a word for a person who is considered highbrow enough to have earned the right to put down something that is considered highbrow, without it making that person appear lowbrow.

A moment ago, I made a joke in another thread about how Citizen Kane is the most boring movie ever made (which, BTW, it is, so it wasn’t totally a joke). Then I realized that my comment only works if you guys happen to know about my taste in movies, which leans more towards artsy-fartsy b/w French stuff than Transformers. Because of this, I feel that I can say that about Citizen Kane and get away with it. I have somewhat earned it.

(Not trying to be snooty, BTW. FWIW, I loved the crap out of Mad Max: Fury Road. Although, since that is actually a really good movie, I’m not entirely sure what point that proves. But anyway…)

If a confirmed piano virtuoso says that, say, Liszt does nothing for him, then the effect is totally different from a random schlub with no taste in music saying the same thing. Or, I knew a guy who always used to acclaim how he didn’t understand poetry. The thing is, this guy was a literature major who knew his postmodern novels and deconstructionist theory backwards and forwards. As a result, he had earned the right to poo-poo poetry.

Meta-snob? Backwards connoisseur? I dunno. I want something.