vemödalen – n. the frustration of photographing something amazing when thousands of identical photos already exist—the same sunset, the same waterfall, the same curve of a hip, the same closeup of an eye—which can turn a unique subject into something hollow and pulpy and cheap, like a mass-produced piece of furniture you happen to have assembled yourself. | ETYMOLOGY: From Swedish vemod, «tender sadness, pensive melancholy» + Vemdalen, the name of a Swedish town. Swedish place names are the source of IKEA’s product names—the original metaphor for this idea was that these clichéd photos are a kind of prefabricated furniture that you happen to have built yourself. As a side note, the umlaut isn’t proper Swedish, but I liked the idea of a little astonished face (ö) sitting in the middle of the word.

THE DICTIONARY OF OBSCURE SORROWS http://www.dictionaryofobscuresorrows… 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. Follow the project, give feedback, suggest an emotion you need a word for, or just tell me about your day. Email the author: Facebook… Twitter @ObscureSorrows