in Wacky Word Wednesday

Strapped into a rollercoaster with a white-knuckled grip on the padded bar that you hope is holding you down, you hear the clack-clack-clack of the chain that is lifting your cart up what seems to be an impossibly tall hill and you feel…what exactly is that feeling? Is it excitement? Is it fear? Is it a convolution of the two? Today’s Wacky Word describes the feeling that we hate to love—frisson.

quo topFrisson[free-sohn]-nounA sudden strong feeling of excitement or fear; a thrill; an almost pleasurable sensation of fright.quo botFrisson

Most of us enjoy the occasional scary movie or theme park ride, but there are those who aren’t content with this fake frisson; they’ll only settle for the real thing…even if their lives are on the line. Downhill mountain bikers, bungee jumpers, and parachutists are all chasing that fleeting feeling but none are quite so committed as the human flying squirrels – wingsuit jumpers.

These high-flying daredevils jump out of airplanes, hot air balloons, and – most dangerously – off mountaintops and buildings while wearing suits that greatly increase their bodies’ surface area, thus allowing them to fly through the air – for a time, anyway. It has become the go-to sport of the extreme and athletic elite thrill-seekers but, with some of the very best wingsuit jumpers attempting stunts that would frighten even the fiercest, it has resulted in several high-profile deaths over the past few years.

That thought should send a chill creeping up your spine—an icy reminder that frisson is derived from the Latin frigere, “to be cold.” But despite the high risks inherent to the sport, there are those who find the warmth of life in hurtling toward the Earth at fatal speeds.

“You’re near a dream,” said Yves Rossy. “The emotions are so strong, you become addicted.” Another veteran wingsuit jumper – Phil Smith – shared his greatest fear about the sport: “My biggest concern is what happens when I get bored of this.”

As usual, here are a few example sentences putting our wacky word into action:

  • “As the recent film The Day After Tomorrow showed, there is nothing like a good old disaster scenario for a bit of frisson.” (Collins Dictionary)
  • “Lack of lights, helmets or indeed any caving gear whatsoever added a certain frisson to the trip.” (Your Dictionary)

We here at Simply CSOFT hope that you can get your sense of frisson without risking life and limb! Join us next week for another exciting edition of Wacky Word Wednesday.

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