In the spirit of Valentine's Day . . .
Nympholepsy n. Not a convulsive condition of nubiles, but a passionate longing for something unattainable. A sufferer is a nympholept. The condition is named after the supposed result of looking upon a nymph, an act which, according to legend, produced a frenzy of enthusiastic emotion in the looker-upon. In modern parlance, you could use the term to refer to the passion of a vintage-car enthusiast for an impossibly expensive Bugatti; or of a bibliophile for a Shakespeare First Folio; or, let's face it, of a voluptuary manque (q.v.) for a nymphomaniac.
Each Tuesday, we’ll offer up a Superior Word for the edification of our Superior Readers, via the volumes of the inimitable Peter Bowler. You can purchase all or any of the four Superior Person’s Books of Words from the Godine website. Nympholepsy appears in the First.