Tuesday’s Word of the Week 10-3-2017




— anhedonic  \-ˈdä-nik\ adjective


  1. inability to experience pleasure from activities usually found enjoyable, e.g. exercise, hobbies, singing, sexual activities or social interactions. While earlier definitions of anhedonia emphasized pleasurable experience, more recent models have highlighted the need to consider different aspects of enjoyable behavior, such as motivation or desire to engage in activities, as compared to the level of enjoyment of the activity itself.


Anhedonia was more than a Warning Sign, it was an out-and-out symptom. A dry rot spreading from pleasure to pleasure, a fungus spoiling the delight in luxury and joy in leisure which for so many years had fueled Gary’s resistance to the poor think of his parents.
— Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections, 2001

Nolan has confused his native island with the anhedonia in his head.
–Christian Lorentzen, New Republic, “Dunkirk Manages to Make War Boring,” 25 July 2017


Anhedonia is used almost exclusively in psychology and psychiatry. The first syllable (an-) is a form of the Greek negative prefix an-, which is related to Germanic (English) un- and the Latin negative prefix in-, from the Proto-Indo-European negative or privative prefix ṇ- (from the Proto-Indo-European adverb ne “not”). The second element comes from Greek hēdonḗ (dialect hādonā́) “pleasure,” a derivative of the adjective hēdýs (dialect hādýs) “sweet,” from the Proto-Indo-European root swād- “sweet,” from which derive Latin suāvis “pleasant” and suādēre “to recommend,” and Germanic (English) sweet. Anhedonia entered English in the late 19th century.



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