The last few years I've noticed a trend of people posting articles or news stories on facebook that had offended them, and commenting with a sense of outrage they seemed also to relish on some level.

Today I heard the term outrage porn for the first time, and felt delight in hearing this phenomenon succinctly and accurately named.

I got to wondering if there was a word that described the surprise and satisfaction of hearing a concept captured by name for the first time...

I'm not looking for general words describing the satisfaction of insight or clarity -- but a word or phrase that applies specifically to hearing a concept named for the first time.

  • 1
    Related to "outrage porn" is the term offense kleptomaniac, a person who will take any offense, warranted or not. From the Urban Dictionary: urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=offense+kleptomaniac. I've also heard this as umbrage kleptomaniac – Jim Mack May 31 '15 at 21:21
  • 1
    I cannot define outrage porn but I know it when I see it. – TRomano May 31 '15 at 23:38

I call this a Monsieur Jourdain. The Bourgeois Gentilhomme is overjoyed to learn what prose is, and that it is just what he has been speaking his whole life:

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: And when one speaks, what is that then?


MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: What! When I say, "Nicole, bring me my slippers, and give me my nightcap," that's prose?


MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: By my faith! For more than forty years I have been speaking prose without knowing anything about it, and I am much obliged to you for having taught me that.


MADAME JOURDAIN: They are words that are very sensible, and your conduct is scarcely so.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: I'm not talking about that, I tell you. I'm asking you: what is it that I'm speaking to you this minute, what is it?


MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: No, no! That's not it. What is it we are both saying, what language is it that we are speaking right now?


MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: What is it called?

MADAME JOURDAIN: It's called whatever you want.

MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: It's prose, you ignorant creature.


MONSIEUR JOURDAIN: Yes, prose. Everything is prose that is not verse; and everything that's not verse is prose. There! This is what it is to study!

-- Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme (in English)

  • Ha! Nice connection to make. The problem is MJ has merely learned a fancy-sounding synonym for "speech." His delight stems from his foolish belief that everything he says is now elevated -- not in finding a word for something that previously lacked one, or a word that crystallized vague thoughts or generated new insight. This is a good suggestion when playful ridicule is your intent, but not, imo, when you wish to convey genuine epiphany. +1 nevertheless. – Jonah Jun 1 '15 at 3:54
  • @Jonah: The same delight/satisfaction is involved, IMO. Of course, MJ's case is special - there is not necessarily anything pretentious in the ordinary satisfaction of learning a new word for something one already knows. MJ has additional feelings (and delusions), but it's clear he is also content to have discovered this new word for something familiar. – Drew Jun 1 '15 at 5:28
  • That's fair, but I still think, in practice, the primary association of the comparison (to everyone except MJ himself) is foolishness rather than delight and discovery. Eg, if I used it to label a friend's experience, he'd probably think I was poking fun at him, and if I used it to describe my own, it would have an air of self-deprecation. Yet I'm looking for something without these overtones... – Jonah Jun 1 '15 at 5:49
  • @Jonah: I don't disagree. But I would add that there is often, I think, a bit of such foolishness associated with such a "discovery". It's just a word, after all. Giving a word to something, or discovering a word for something that one is familiar with, is not necessarily an "epiphany", though it might (as in MR's case) sometimes be thought of as one. (When there is more to it than just a word, as in the concept/word "phlogiston" leading to "oxygen", then it is of course more than just a personal epiphany.) – Drew Jun 1 '15 at 16:03

Would "epiphany" work?


epiphany (plural epiphanies)

A manifestation or appearance of a divineor superhuman being.

An illuminating realization or discovery, often resulting in a personal feeling of elation,awe, or wonder.

  • 1
    Thanks, but no. As noted at the end of my post, I'm looking for something specific to the epiphany of hearing a concept named -- "epiphany" is too general. Of course, "the epiphany of a perfect name" is roughly what I mean, but is far too clunky to give the delight I'm talking about. Because the correct answer to my question will itself be an example of what it names :) – Jonah May 31 '15 at 21:47
  • 1
    It is possible that there isn't such a word, it may require a phrase or a neologism. For the later, you might be on to something: you could coin a word from epiphany and onomatopoeia; both came from Greek via Latin, so they should be compatible enough to combine :-). @Jonah I agree that the answer would be autological – Lucky May 31 '15 at 22:47
  • 2
    @Lucky, +1 for "autological," I was actually wondering if such a word existed as I made that comment. Sadly, I suspect there will be no autological answer to my OP. BTW, in a nice example of the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, I read yesterday in Pinker's "The Sense of Style" that the prohibition against combining Greek and Latin words is a spurious one, invented by grammarians out of thin air and without foundation in historical usage. Even better, the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon was only on my mind because it happened to come up in google while I was searching for an answer to the OP! – Jonah May 31 '15 at 23:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.