Definition: Toska (Russian)


[ pronounced TOSka ]

Russian word for a longing with nothing to long for. A feeling of maddening dissatisfaction, said to blow in from the great plains.

  • From the TEDTalk below (at about 5:30), by Tiffany Watt Smith, which includes a bunch of emotions where there are no words in English, but which you may well have experienced, but never had one single word to describe them! Or which you may go out and try to see if you can conjure up the feeling from hints in its definition for where and/or under what conditions one might experience it.


Under Communism and/or those long and cold Russian winters, I can see from where this most depressing of words might have originated! Might qualify for the most depressing word I know, at least to describe feelings of sadness.

Learn About New Emotions so You can Get Them

Supposedly, if you learn about new emotions, you can experience if you get the chance to. That is, you just need to know about them, then be in a situation where they might be the appropriate emotional response. Well, here are 9 you might want to learn about and experience. I think they’re pretty good to have! What they mean is in the TED Talk in the video at end. Enjoy!

  • Hwyl
  • Ilinx
  • Gezellegheid
  • Basorexia
  • Accidie
  • Toska
  • Awumbuk
  • Amae
  • Depaysement