No matter how obscure the feeling, there’s probably word for it (and it’s usually German).

Here’s some terms that bibliophiles should know – for their own amusement, to impress friends/family or simply to triumph at the next pub quiz.


This is a Japanese word which describes buying too many books, letting them accumulate and then never getting around to reading them.

If that sounds uncomfortably familiar, you might want to take an accounting of your bookcase.


Greek in origin, this is an old document which has had the original writing scraped off and new words written over it.




A person, or a piece of writing, that is unnecessarily long-winded.


If you love language, you’ve probably been guilty of dunandunate ie learning a new word and then constantly overusing it (to the annoyance of everyone around you).


Ballycumber is a town in Ireland.

It’s also a word coined by author Douglas Adams to describe “one of the six half-read books lying somewhere in your bed.”



Literally translated from the German this means ‘closing gate panic’ and describes the panic that ensues when you realise you still haven’t written that novel.

Technical definition – the feeling of urgency to accomplish something before it’s too late.



Writers know when they’ve written something good. There’s a feeling of warmth and pride when that last sentence gets put to paper.

And that’s nikhedonia, the feeling of excitement that comes from anticipating success.



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