Thursday, March 27, 2014

My Dictionaries Word of the Day: SABSUNG

SABSUNG (SOB-soong; verb Thai)

To slake an emotional or spiritual thirst, to be revitalized.

Have you ever returned home from a stressful and exhausting business trip, listened to some favorite music, and felt a sense of psychic and spiritual revitalization, as if the music had poured extra life into your soul? Have you experienced a strangely similar sensation in a very different context, where a few precious words from a special person seemed to soak into your being the way rain soaks into the parched ground after a drought? The Thai word sabsung serves to describe both kinds of revitalizing experiences, a slaking of both the mind's and the heart's thirst. Have you ever felt that something is wrong in your life, but you can't quite state what it is? Recognizing that one has certain spiritual and psychological needs is something that can make life richer. Sabsung is both the act of quenching metaphysical thirsts and the feeling that comes with the fulfillment of these hard-to-define but all-important needs.

The literal meaning of sabsung refers to the physical act of immersing in liquid something that has become dry. But the personal connotation points to a kind of spiritual emotion, a specific reaction that comes from one's soul in response to the slaking "substance," whether it is literally a drink of water, a kind word, or a beautiful work of art. You can use the word for special moments when you encounter a great painting, or else see your family after a painful separation, or reread a favorite poem. You can also do yourself a favor by seeking or demanding it when the stress and complications of the world threaten to overwhelm you: "I badly need to sabsung. I'm retiring to my room with the Rubaiyat, a jug of wine, and my collection of heavy-metal records."

from They Have A Word For It: A Lighthearted Lexicon of Untranslatable Words and Phrases by Howard Rheingold

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