The word I'm seeking is a word used to describe the feeling you get when confronted with the immensity of nature and how little we are. It's what you get when you stand on the beach, watching the ocean when a storm is coming, or looking at the stars at night in the open, it's not fear, though it has some of that, it's a lot of mixed emotions: awe, fear, contemplation, admiration, etc.

It's not a word I made up, I read it a long while ago on a grammar group and now I need it, but I can't remember it.

And it's not a common word neither, it's very specific, it's the name of that mixed feelings you get in the situations I described, neither positive nor negative, a mix of both.

Someone mentioned ¨sonder¨ on the comments, and it's quite near that, but sonder means realizing your problems are minuscule compared to the Universe, which is not the same

And I apologize for not being clear enough prior, English is not my native tongue.

  • 2
    Related: "A word for realising the insignificance of human life against the scale of the universe and enjoying it". Is that the kind of word you want, or do you want a word for feeling like a dot compared to the universe and not enjoying it? Giving more details about what you want this word to mean, and in what context you want to use it, will make it easier to answer your question.
    – herisson
    Aug 31, 2016 at 21:30
  • There are words that describe the experiencing of a grand revelation, some of which are included in the answers to the question @suməlic linked. However, none of these words speak specifically to the realization of the idea this question describes.
    – R Mac
    Aug 31, 2016 at 21:36
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    @TomásVittino I'd request that you elaborate to explain if you want a general word for realizations of this magnitude or a specific word for this specific realization.
    – R Mac
    Aug 31, 2016 at 21:36
  • 1
    Inconsequential springs to mind.
    – Sven Yargs
    Sep 1, 2016 at 0:29
  • @suməlic is right -- we need the feeling you're aiming for. "Overwhelmed"? The "awestruck" or "in awe" answer is very good -- it's hard to tell where you want to go with this. Sep 1, 2016 at 0:35

4 Answers 4


How about Awestruck?

Filled with or revealing awe: e.g. people were awestruck by the pictures sent back to earth

Oxford English Dictionary



A feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder: e.g they gazed in awe at the small mountain of diamonds the sight filled me with awe

Oxford English Dictionary


Without clarification I'd suggest feeling dwarfed.

dwarf VERB Cause to seem small or insignificant in comparison

Some books use it that way:

Admittedly this is a highly Romantic text in which Kleist feels himself dwarfed by the immensity encompassed by the painting, and yet his confusion results in more than a glimpse of the sublime. - One

I felt dwarfed by the immensity of Lay Me Down's illness. - Two

After a moment, when I got used to the dark,I found a light switch and was startled to discover myself dwarfed by the immensity, power, and beauty of Clifford Cole's paintings, which were hanging and standing everywhere. - Three


The adjective "sublime" is the word I use for this. The OED defines it as: "Of a feature of nature or art: that fills the mind with a sense of overwhelming grandeur or irresistible power; that inspires awe, great reverence, or other high emotion, by reason of its beauty, vastness, or grandeur."


I heard the writer and videogame critic Yahtzee refer to this feeling as a


referring to the feeling of mounting insignificance as you gaze into the cosmos.

I thought it was quite an evocative term. It more specifically refers to the vertigo-like feeling one can get when looking at the stars, and the ego barrier breakdown that comes with internalizing the vastness of the universe for a moment.

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