• No products in the basket.
cart chevron-down close-disc

Etymology: Sonder is a neologism, coined by John Koenig for his online Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. As such it has no evolution to trace. A pleasing folk etymology might be the combination of the verb sound, to “ascertain the depth of water,” and wonder, an “astonishing or marvelous thing.” Many alternatives have been proposed by the dictionary’s devotees.

Meaning: Koenig’s definition begins: “The realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own, ” and expands into a brief but beautiful prose poem, like many entries in his dictionary. He likes to say that sonder is the revelation that you are merely an extra in someone else’s story.


This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty

Buy Now

This story appears in a print issue of Kinfolk. You’re welcome to read this story for free or subscribe to enjoy unlimited access.


Kinfolk.com uses cookies to personalize and deliver appropriate content, analyze website traffic and display advertising. Visit our cookie policy to learn more. By clicking "Accept" you agree to our terms and may continue to use Kinfolk.com.