The Book of Human Emotions: From Ambiguphobia to Umpty - 154 Words from Around the World for How We Feel - Tiffany Watt Smith 2016


There are those who are brave enough to tell a stranger off for a throwaway racist comment, or for refusing to give up their seat to an elderly traveler on a bus. One imagines this is rather satisfying, inflating them with self-righteousness (see: SMUGNESS).

But in a world where moral rules can seem hard to agree on, and where feelings can be hurt and things taken the wrong way, even the desire to correct may be quickly followed by premonitions of instant regret. So we may find ourselves having to be content with expressing our reproach in censorious little squibs. A cold look. Tuts and sighs and mutterings.

Such exchanges rarely produce the contrition or immediate change in behavior of one’s fantasies. Instead, our best efforts go unnoticed, or worse, are met with reproaches of their own. (“If you’ve got something to say, come say it to my face!”) Little is more irritating than the reproachfulness of others. No one likes their faults pointed out, or the idea that someone thinks they’re entitled to judge us.

And so we walk through the city itching to upbraid, bursting with censoriousness. We become the creators of eloquent rage-filled inner monologues, experts in the little cough, and seething with unexpressed fury.

See also: MIFFED, a bit.