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A Word for Feeling Terribly Lonely But Loving the Solitude

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Bethany in Ithaca, New York, wants a word that sums up a way she’s feeling lately: being desperately lonely, but also reveling in her solitude. She’s toying with her own coinage based on Greek and Latin roots having to do with “solitude” and “split in two,” dichosolisthenia. Martha suggests turning to the simpler, earthy language of Anglo-Saxon, which powerfully evokes loneliness in such 10th-century poems as “The Wanderer” and “The Seafarer.” Gladlorn, maybe? Or perhaps a compound like anhagawynn from words that mean “solitary happiness.” Grant offers a German term from Will Jelbert’s book Word Wise: Say What You Mean, Deepen Your Connections, and Get to the Point (Bookshop|Amazon). It’s Waldeinsamkeit, literally “forest loneliness,” the idea of feeling alone in a forest while also feeling happily connected to nature. This is part of a complete episode.

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