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Compunctious means feeling remorse or regret. Here are 9 obscure words for feelings...


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Compunctious Definition: feeling remorse or regret

Every one of us has, on some occasion, felt like we should be saying “I’m sorry,” and wished to do so ... but without actually having to utter those dread words. If you would like to say that you are sorry, or have feelings of regret or remorse, but want to do so in a fashion that is sufficiently obscure that the person to whom you are apologizing doesn’t quite understand you, then compunctious is the word for you.

He was puzzled about Agnes, whose meaning he did not divine, and he was compunctious about Jack, to whom he could not wish a lover’s reward for his trouble.  —Margaret Oliphant, Agnes, 1866

Alexithyma Definition: inability to identify and express or describe one’s feelings

Alexithyma is a fairly recent word, showing up in English in the mid-1970s. It is formed by combining the prefix a- (meaning “not” or “without”) with the Greek lexis (“speech”) and -thymia, (a noun combining form meaning “condition or mind and will”). It is primarily found used as a psychiatric term, and if you decide to employ it the next time you have an argument about feelings with your significant other, well, don’t blame us if it is not well received.

People who are overweight and do a lot of emotional eating are more likely to have a hard time identifying their feelings – what psychologists call alexithymia.  —R. Wolever, B. Reardon, & T. Hannan, The Mindful Diet, 2016