I cannot remember the English word for a known meaning. The meaning of the forgotten word from the dictionary is a "a rapt state induced by a yearning for the unattainable".

  • I put what you said into Google and got Sehnsucht and saudade. Is it either of those? Neither’s strictly English, but I don’t think there is a strictly English word that expresses all of that. Oct 23, 2014 at 22:49
  • No I don't recall these two words. The sort-after word was not an obvious 'foreign' word from the long lost English dictionary - last viewed in 1973! Oct 23, 2014 at 23:00
  • @GraemeCorlett: You can add additional details to your question and it would be perfect if you can include an example sentence with a blank that this word would fit.
    – ermanen
    Oct 23, 2014 at 23:13
  • Isn't it simply longing? [MW definition: a strong desire especially for something unattainable]
    – ermanen
    Oct 23, 2014 at 23:22

6 Answers 6


Ecstasy. Medieval saints, including Teresa of Avila and Gregory Palamas, achieved this altered state of consciousness after intense fasting and praying.

From Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.:

ecstasy (noun), plural ecstasies.

  1. rapturous delight.

  2. an overpowering emotion or exaltation; a state of sudden, intense feeling.

  3. the frenzy of poetic inspiration.

  4. mental transport or rapture from the contemplation of divine things.


It sounds to me like part of the English explanation of the German word Sehnsucht.


The term Saudade may fit your description:

  • (European Portuguese: [sɐwˈðaðɨ], Brazilian Portuguese: is a Portuguese or Galician word that has no direct translation in English. It describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. Moreover, it often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing may never return. A stronger form of saudade may be felt towards people and things whose whereabouts are unknown, such as a lost lover, or a family member who has gone missing, moved away, separated, or died.

Also : pining may fit the description: ( from TFD)

  • a feeling of deep longing

To pine:

  • To feel a lingering, often nostalgic desire.
  • Pining - see also: fjords.
    – BrianH
    Oct 24, 2014 at 5:26

Not a lot to go on. My guess is Nirvana.

  • -1 You attain Nirvana to suffer a yearning?
    – Kris
    Oct 24, 2014 at 6:31

A close kin is awe, from dictionary.reference.com

an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful, or the like: in awe of God; in awe of great political figures.


Tantalizing Desire is the word used for yearning to possess something which is unobtainable. So you were totally tantalized by something.

  • 1
    To improve the answer, you should include a dictionary definition and link for tantalized. May 13, 2021 at 12:54

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