I want to describe myself as someone who likes to torture himself by learning something really difficult and not very useful. I know there's such a word for describing someone who likes to be tortured sexually.
But it's not what I'm looking for. Actually, you are looking for the word masochist. In its general sense it means someone who enjoys a painful or tedious activity. Masochist is definitely a sexually-loaded term - after all, as OED says, it comes from Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, the Austrian novelist who famously described that form of sexual perversion cf sadist - Marquis de Sade. Of course, this doesn't prevent it being used figuratively by a speaker who intends no sexual connotation, but there's no guarantee his audience won't register that connotation.
Besides which, you can't really use it with no connotations of perversionwhich is normally sexual anyway. EDIT following Sexually torturing yourself in comments - it's worth pointing out that even metaphorically, there's a strong implication that the masochist only does what he does for perverted pleasure. But in common parlance, a glutton for punishment is someone who often, cheerfully gets on with arduous tasks that actually need to be done with overtones of stoic dedication, not perversion.
In English, this Chinese expression is known as eating bitter. I have found no better explication on the Web than this post on a martial arts forum:. Chinese phrase for enduring hardship. Or as Occidentals would say: Or to continue despite difficulties in a general phrase of encouragement meaning to stay focused. Eating bitter seems to be an aged-old saying, like a parent to a child, upon having the child do something without complaint.
It has the meaning of working hard and tolerate some agony in order to acquire what it is one is hoping to achieve. Given the rapidity with which Chinese culture is spreading in the West, we will see eating bitter become more and more common. A biography published in not a translation but a book originally in English has Eating Bitter as its title, and there are many more examples. I know, some of you will say it's too early to declare eating bitter part of the English language.
Well, maybe you still have to Sexually torturing yourself it between inverted commas and explain it upon first mention. I do believe, however, we will "Sexually torturing yourself" it entering into common circulation soon.
So, you can say "I am used to eating bitter" or "I am one who likes to eat bitter, as we say at home" to describe yourself. In a job interview, this may get you a quizzical look, which is an opportunity for you to tell more. Interest in things Chinese is high in the West, so ride the wave! However, it appears to be restricted to discussion of giftedness and therefore I do not see it as a good synonym for eating bitter. Describing yourself as a wonk might be a good approach.
Per websters-dictionary-online it refers to "An insignificant student who is ridiculed as being affected or boringly studious"; more commonly it has a sense like "someone who is extremely interested in unimportant political facts". You might also describe yourself as dogged "Stubbornly persevering, steadfast"stubbornor relentless "Unrelenting or unyielding in severity" and "Unremitting, steady and persistent" in pursuit of knowledge.
According to Oxford Dictionaries:. The inflicting of pain, especially mental pain, on oneself. You can find a list of definitions at OneLook.
That made me think of another overtly sexual word, also beginning with "mas", but that would be self-gratifyingly rude. As a manager of staff, since the implication is a job application, my instinctual answer would be "wastrel", since if I'm going to be paying you, I'd rather you expend the energy on something that IS "very useful" This term refers to a person who is perhaps boorishly tedious and officious but relates to learning lots of arcane facts. Kinda thinking Luddite is a word worth musing over--it's not quite right for what you're looking for but it plays on the angle Sexually torturing yourself the thing Sexually torturing yourself learned is no longer useful.
I really appreciate whoever downvoted my comment without engaging me with a reply to offer a reason why they disliked my suggestions. I'm trying to be helpful here and don't appreciate downvoting trolls.
McBear Holden 2 4 Sisyphean didactic autoflagellation has a nice ring to it.
The more I think about your suggestion, the funnier it is. Apr 17 '12 at It's the voice of bitter experience. I had a great deal of fun in grad school, but By standard nounificationSisyphean seems like a reasonable choice to me. Certainly much better than masochistimho. You should post it as an "Sexually torturing yourself" - I'd upvote it! Actually, someone who likes to torture himself is an auto-masochist. A masochist is just someone who likes to be tortured, usually by other people.
See what happened to gay. Sadism and masochism are thus maligned, as well. We need to coin neologisms, for clean use until they fall into the hands of word-vandals. But for now, masochism may be the closest fit for you. I don't think this is a good example of words getting sexual overtones by misuse; it's the other way around Sexually torturing yourself this case. The word originally referred to pleasure-from-pain in a sexual context, and then evolved into a more vanilla use.