Yes, There’s a Word for That: Boanthropy & Other Unusual Words

There is a word for every condition under the sun. What word describes the inability to feel pleasure? How much do you love books? Are you a bibliophile, bibliomaniac, or a biblioholic? Do you have bibliomania? Have you ever had the desire to eat grass like an ox?

happiness, flickr

Have you ever gone temporarily insane? Been mentally impaired for a short time? This could happen when you’re ill and feverish. It could happen when you’ve had a great shock. Such a state is known as amentia.

Times of great happiness I’ve experienced stand out in my mind: marrying the love of my life, the birth of my children, being released from the hospital after my near-fatal car wreck. I can’t imagine living without being able to feel pleasure or joy. Unfortunately, there are people who don’t have this ability. Anhedonia is a psychological condition marked by an inability to experience pleasure.

bibliophile, wikimedia commons

Those of you who love to read as much as I do most likely are familiar with the word bibliomania, a mania for reading or buying books. That isn’t the only word associated with being crazy about books.

A bibliophile, like me, is one who loves books.

Closely related to bibliophile is bibliomaniac, someone who is crazy about books so much that collecting them is part of their life.

I don’t think that one can read too many books, but if one is a biblioholic, one is consumed by books to the point of harming oneself and/or one’s pocketbook. You would be like an alcoholic, but books would take the place of alcohol.  How often do you go on book buying sprees? Do you buy more books even when you don’t need them? Are others so concerned about your book reading habit that they try to discuss it with you?

Or your addiction could be a bit more serious. Would you kill in order to get hold of or protect books? Would you rather read than eat or take care of yourself?

In the Bible is found the most famous case of boanthropy, the delusion that one is an ox or a cow. King Nebuchadnezzar’s condition was brought on by God, but still, he thought he was an ox for a period of time.

Daniel 4:33 in the New International Version says: Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from people and ate grass like the ox. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird.

If you finish reading chapter 4 of Daniel, you will learn that King Nebuchadnezzar’s sanity was eventually restored to him.

There are people today who have this delusion and believe that they must eat grass like an ox or a cow, and they may even take on the characteristics of said animal.

When I was a child, I was afflicted with bruxomania, the act of compulsively grinding one’s teeth while sleeping. As far as I know, that is no longer an issue for me.

girl writing, etc.usf.edu

Writing Exercise:
Create a character who has one or more of the above psychological conditions and research this condition more. Write a story about how your character deals with this condition and what it makes life like for them.

Amazon Links:
Biblioholism: The Literary Addiction
Biblioholism, Rev. Ed.: The Literary Addiction

 

Recommended Articles:
Did You Know There’s a Word for That?
Yes, There’s a Word for That

 

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