• solastalgia •
so-lês-tæl-ji-ê • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun, mass (no plural)
Meaning: A type of estrangement that we get when the environment changes around us.
Notes: This is a very useful word that has not yet crept into the English vocabulary but clearly has a place there. When it gets here, it will bring with it an adjective, solastalgic, and an adverb, solastalgically.
In Play: This word should find a home among the elderly, as their towns grow and friends and relatives pass away: "When his dearest and oldest friend passed away, Hector began feeling the pangs of solastalgia." When we moved to Lewisburg in 1965, it was a small village where everyone knew each other. It had five doctors who took weekly turns running the emergency room. Now, it is a thriving city of mostly strangers with 400 doctors, and I'm feeling pretty solastalgic.
Word History: The reason we haven't heard this word is that it is brand new, invented by Glenn Albrecht in his 2005 article, "Solastalgia: A New Concept in Human Health and Identity" in Philosophy, Activism, Nature 3, p. 41-55. Taking his cue from nostalgia, Albrecht created solastalgia by putting together Latin solacium "comfort" + Greek algia "pain". Latin solacium, the ultimate origin of English solace, is based on solatus "consoled", the past participle of solari "to console, soothe". The root of this word was inherited from a suffixed form of PIE root selh-/solh- "to reconcile", source also of Greek hilaros "cheerful, merry", which Latin borrowed as hilaris, the word underlying English hilarious. The origins of algia have been lost in the fogs of time. (Time to thank the mysterious Grogie of the Agora for fishing today's Good Word from the arcane vocabulary of Australian philosophy.)
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