Vellichor is a rather beautiful word used to describe "the wistfulness of a second-hand bookstore", for that je ne sais quoi feeling of being among antique books that seem abandoned. The term has been making the rounds on the Internet for several years now, peaking in usage in 2015. It was coined in mid-2013 by Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows editor John Koenig, who didn't say why he named it that, but the answer is obvious. The first part is the word vellum, meaning "calfskin parchment", and the ichor part is the same suffix as we see in petrichor ("the smell of wet earth"), referring to the blood of the gods in Greek mythology. Vellum traces to an Old French word meaning "veal" and ichor has an unknown etymology, but is thought to ultimately be Pre-Greek in origin.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.