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I came across this word a few years ago, but can't find it now. I do not mean deodand, animism, pathetic fallacy, scapegoating, anthropomorphism, or personification (Word for attaching blame to inanimate objects).

If I recall correctly, this particular word sounded like a religion but looked like a phobia; it may well have been coined by the creator of the content in which I encountered it. Any assistance is greatly appreciated.

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Could we use this question as a benchmark for future "questioners", please? It is in a word, perfect! – Mari-Lou A May 7 '14 at 7:43
Well, Mari-Lou A, I'm quite flattered, but certainly you may. – Dutch Jeff May 7 '14 at 21:59
I would argue the term you want is "experience" but then I've spent decades working with computers. – TechZen May 8 '14 at 3:51
up vote 81 down vote accepted


Resistentialism is a jocular theory to describe "seemingly spiteful behavior manifested by inanimate objects", where objects that cause problems (like lost keys or a runaway bouncy ball) are said to exhibit a high degree of malice toward humans.

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Thank you! What a relief. You answered so quickly I had to wait seven minutes to mark the answer. Too bad I don't have enough rep to vote you up. – Dutch Jeff May 7 '14 at 0:52
+1 I did it for you :-) – LateralFractal May 7 '14 at 3:15
Newly acquired rep duly applied. Thanks again. – Dutch Jeff May 7 '14 at 5:14
@silkfire: I have malicious objects at my house that I have to resist. – ermanen May 7 '14 at 15:41
This answer (both the fact that it could be answered and the speed with which it was answered) is why the Stack Exchange network is amazing. – asteri May 8 '14 at 3:24

humorous meaning - from OED, indeed, resistentialism means:

The theory that inanimate objects are hostile to humans; hostility manifested by inanimate objects.

Originally in the works of Paul Jennings.

1948 P. Jennings in Spectator 23 Apr. 491/1 Resistentialism is a philosophy of tragic grandeur... Resistentialism derives its name from its central thesis that Things (res) resist (résister) men... Resistentialism is the philosophy of what Things think about us.

1950 P. Jennings Oddly Enough 147 ‘Things are against us.’ This is the nearest English translation I can find for the basic concept of Resistentialism.

1996 C. H. Elster There's Word for It! (2005) 246 Even my daughter..is well aware of the sinister power of resistentialism... Not long ago I heard her crying from another room. I ran to her aid and found her frowning at a chair. ‘That chair bumped me.’

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I tried but I could not because I did not have the 50 points necessary to comment. – edn13 May 12 '14 at 23:50

protected by tchrist Jul 6 '14 at 23:49

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