Printable Version
Pronunciation: ru-bê-to-sis Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass (no plural)

Meaning: "The unsettling awareness of your own heartbeat."

Notes: Rubatosis is accepted only by Wiktionary. It is a sniglet made up by John Koenig in 2012 as part of his The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows project. I usually do not include sniglets in the series, but due to the interest in it, I decided to make an exception in this case. Grogie's suggestion has drawn 836 views so far in the Agora, a song and a rap chant by the name of Rubatosis have been written and performed, and it has been adopted as a pseudonym by an author. The adjective, yet to be mentioned on the Web, would be rubatotic.

In Play: Although the word has been mentioned 50,500 times on the Web as of July 12, 2020, no one seems to have ever used it in a sentence. So, these are the first sentences it has ever been used in: "As he waited for the list of the names of winners to be read, Rupert experienced a rubatosis of excitement." Here is another try: "The very thought of Gwendolyn churned up a rapid rubatosis in Elmer's mind."

Word History: The root of this word seems to be the musical term rubato "relaxed tempo, not strictly on the beat" + -osis, a suffix used mostly in medicine to indicate a condition, particularly a pathological one. Rubato is Italian rubato "robbed, stolen", the past participle of rubare "to rob", borrowed from a Germanic language. That language inherited the word from PIE reub-/roub- "to take away, cut off (of)", also the source of English rob and rip and German rauben "to rob". Russian rubit' "to chop" and rubl' "ruble" share the same source. Apparently, a ruble was originally a chop off a chunk of silver. There is nothing in the history of the word about hearts, and the reference to beats is misleading. (The mysterious Grogie of the Arcane Vocabulary found today's Good [near] Word in some dark corner of the English vocabulary and thought we might enjoy talking about it. Apparently, we are.)

Dr. Goodword,

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