What's the word for this (English or not)?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by strantor, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    What's the word for something that defies explanation - Something that has to be experienced to be understood? Like color; There's no good way to explain colors to someone that's been blind since birth. Color is a ________.

    Or, another example from the movie Blast From the Past, is baseball. Christopher Walken plays the father of Brendan Fraser, and he raises Fraser in a fallout shelter for 30 years following a false alarm about nuclear winter during the cold war. Walken tries to explain baseball to Fraser, to no avail, for the full 30 years. As soon as Fraser gets out of the shelter and goes to a baseball game, it all "clicks" instantly and he says "you just have to see it!"

    Or another of my personal examples, describing the taste of anything that doesn't taste like chicken. The taste of a durian fruit is a _________.

    Or describing music to someone whose been deaf since birth.

    So far abstract is the closest word, but that's not a 100% fit because these things are quantifiable, once you experience them.

    I've searched and asked and have almost come to the conclusion that there isn't a word in English that fits the bill. So, some of you speakers of other languages, do you have a word for this?
     
  2. Papabravo

    Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
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    I have three for your consideration:
    1. unfathomable
    2. incomprehensible
    3. inscrutable
     
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  3. Alec_t

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    A mystery?
     
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  4. tracecom

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    Your usage examples call for a noun, thus by your definition (above) the answer is "inexplicability," which is a noun back-formed from the adjective, "inexplicable." There are some other noun choices, such as "inexplainable," "inexplicableness," and "inexplainability," but I like the sound of, "Wow, that is an inexplicabilty." Try that on your friends.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2013
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  5. strantor

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    Well, that's the best one yet. It conveys the fact that the subject cannot be explained, but that's where it stops. It does not convey that the subject is impossible to explain but still quantifiable. Inexplicability seems to me, to be synonymous with mystery, and the word I am looking for is not synonymous with mystery. I thank you for your submission, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to be pedantic about this.

    Edit:
    "His presence off the coast of Florida after passing through the Bermuda Triangle was an inexplicability"
    "His presence off the coast of Florida after passing through the Bermuda Triangle was a mystery"

    There's no mystery about the colors; red is red and blue is blue. Anybody who has seen the colors can agree.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2013
  6. sirch2

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    His presence off the coast of Florida after passing through the Bermuda Triangle was inexplicable ???

    Alternatively a colour may be indescribable
     
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  7. Alec_t

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    An unworldliness?
    A snark?
     
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  8. strantor

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    an existential ineffability?

    I'm convinced there must be some word in some language that captures the whole idea in one noun.

    EDIT: I'm stuck on ineffable quale.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2013
  9. tshuck

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    It looks like this would fit as qualia:
     
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  10. Alec_t

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    A conundrum?
     
  11. Brownout

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    Phenomenon
    .
     
  12. t_n_k

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    A posteriori knowledge.
     
  13. loosewire

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    It depends on what a persons condition ,do they know what black is... that's a

    question. Close your eyes ,you can see different colors..you can see light.

    So do you know anyone that just see black ,with no out lines. Have them

    close there eyes tight and describe what they say.
     
  14. loosewire

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    I closed my eyes tight ,I saw Hemingway ,and a six digit paw of a cat.
     
  15. loosewire

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    Color is a soft touch.
     
  16. KJ6EAD

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    Empiricism perhaps.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2013
  17. Nykolas

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    Well, obviously this conundrum is an enigma! E
     
  18. GopherT

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    Strantor (stran-tor): n - a concept that can only be comprehended after experiencing the concept. As in, sensory experiences, emotions, altered realities, complicated rules or instructions,...

    E.g.:
    (1) There are so many instructions in baseball that it is a strantor for many people. I finally understood most of it after I watched a few games.
     
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  19. Lightfire

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    Oct 5, 2010
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    inenarrable

    adjective

    \ˌi-ni-ˈna-rə-bəl\

    —incapable of being narrated

    Examples of INENARRABLE


    <the filmmaker's decision to depict the essentially inenarrable phenomenon called love by means of a series of lush metaphors>



    Origin of INENARRABLE

    Middle English, from Latin inenarrabilis, from in- + enarrare to explain in detail, from e- + narrare to narrate
    First Known Use: 15th century
     
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  20. tracecom

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    We have a winner!!! :D
     
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