Posts Tagged ‘words to add to English’


Living in the northern hemisphere, it is tempting during the winter to imitate other mammals and hibernate. Both my children attempted that ploy this morning to avoid education. It put me in mind of two unusual words relating to sleep.

The first is uhtceare (pronounced oot-care), an Old English word for the experience of waking before dawn and not being able to get back to sleep because you’re worrying about something. I suspect even the most laid-back amongst us have struggled with uhtceare at least once. The word is a joining of two other words – uht meaning “the hour before sunrise” and ceare meaning “care or worry”. The idea of a care being a worry is one that’s not used as often in modern English and it’s shame as it tells us an important fact. If we worry, predawn or not, it’s because we care. Often our worries are for other people – parents worrying about bullied children, friends worrying about sick friends etc. Suffering from uhtceare is a form of love.

"Ted was worried about honey supplies running low."

“Ted was worried about honey supplies running low.”

The second sleepy word is dormiveglia, an Italian word that I think should be added to English as we don’t have a term for what it describes. Dormiveglia is the space of time between sleeping and waking (or vice versa). When not obeying an alarm call it’s a magic time when you grasp the tail-end of dreams with your fingertips and enjoy the warmth of your bed, content to lie there and muse. I love dormiveglia all the more now as a parent when it’s too rare.

Until next time happy reading, writing, and snoozing,

Grace (@Wordfoolery)



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