Etymology: Made up of two Japanese characters. The first, “yu,” means dim or diﬃcult to see. The second, “gen,” originally described the dark, tranquil color of the universe—something calm and deep. Meaning: The meaning depends on the context; the explanation most commonly oﬀered is an awareness of the universe that triggers an emotional response too deep and mysterious for words. You may ﬁnd that deﬁnition opaque, but it is an attempt to explain in words something that is fundamentally ineffable. Or you may feel a spark of recognition somewhere deep within. This is likely a feeling you’ve experienced but never before had a word for. This story is from Kinfolk Issue Twenty-Eight Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 42 Word: Hyperobject A word for things too huge to name. Arts & Culture Word: Negentropy A physicist’s fix for a messy home. Arts & Culture Issue 40 My Word In praise of cursing. Arts & Culture Issue 39 Word: Umarell The men who stare at construction sites. Arts & Culture Issue 38 Word: Hauntology The study of cultural ghosts. Arts & Culture Issue 37 Word: Hot Mess From humble grub to humblebrag.