General Question

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Can you help me think of a word please?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (33722points) 1 month ago

Or even invent a word or coin a phrase?

An English friend wants a word that means thinking about past times and old/dead people who used different ways of speaking and had different behaviors.

It’s not exactly nostalgia. It’s less sentimental. It’s a recognition that those ways are past, but it gives them their rightful place and respect.

I thought up “nostalmutlich,” a combination of nostalgia and the German gemutlich, but it doesn’t roll off the tongue.

Is there a single word for what she’s looking for? Can you coin a word?

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42 Answers

sorry's avatar

Oh, are you thinking about that combination of regressing and that feeling of falling into the past like vertigo? Revertigo? It’s usually used when old friends get together and they revert to childish behaviour of when they were good mates,... like at college or uni.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

^hmm. That’s an idea, but that seems to have some physical aspects to it that might not fit precisely.

ragingloli's avatar


Hawaii_Jake's avatar

^that’s an idea to cogitate on.

mazingerz88's avatar


Hawaii_Jake's avatar

^ooo! That requires some thought. Hmm

stanleybmanly's avatar

The word is nostalgia.

sorry's avatar

I’ve never heard an expression for this as just a ‘recognition’ but I have heard words for it as expressed as a longing. Hiraeth is a Welsh word, but alas, it is sentimental. The word for someone who looks back at the past is ‘historian’. I’d say your friend is looking for the word, ‘Historian.’

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Stanley, you are definitely wrong.

Sorry, I will ask her. “Historian” sounds too clinical to my ear.

sorry's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake Try, enthusiastic historian, then.

zenvelo's avatar

For a neologism, i would work on something like “rememberiscence”, a reminiscence that is remembering something.

In Harry Potter, they use a remembrall

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Zen, I will pass that on.

stanleybmanly's avatar


mazingerz88's avatar

After reading a post above…varieculturiscence.

ucancallme_Al's avatar

One could even say Quaint

janbb's avatar

Turning to Proust “remembranceofthingspast”

Or Edward Bellamy “lookingbackward.”

sadiesayit's avatar

Would “retrospection” fit?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

^I’ll ask.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I think @mazingerz88 is getting there, but I like @janbb‘s literary references. @Al, not quite. Stanley, I think of that meaning something doesn’t fit, and that’s not it either.

janbb's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake Are you trying to see if there is a real word or hoping to invent one that fits the concept? I can’t really think of a word that conveys exactly that.

Thinking some more – “zeitgiest” means the spirit of an age so maybe that is closest.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

My friend is open to real words or invented ones.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

^not enough emotion

janbb's avatar

I think she might be trying to squeeze too many concepts into one word although it seems like the kind of thing that German does well.

LuckyGuy's avatar

There is a great word in Japanese that sounds like it: Natsukashii

From the article:
“Useful Japanese phrases : Natsukashii 懐かしい・なつかしい

Are you feeling nostalgic today? Perhaps you’ve just listened to a song from a time in your life that makes you think of great memories. Perhaps you have just seen an old friend, watched an old movie or even been to a place you haven’t been to in a while. With all of these phrases you can use today’s phrase natsukashii 懐かしい・なつかしい to express the feeling of nostalgia.”

janbb's avatar

@LuckyGuy But he said it’s not like nostalgia but a more truthful look at the past.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

^less sentimental than that. I speak Japanese. 懐かしいis very sentimental.

janbb's avatar

I just thought that the phrase “remembering bygone days” might convey the thought but of course it’s not one word.

(And I think my Marilyn Monroe statue question somehow fits into this concept.)

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake I didn’t know you spoke Japanese. Great!
So, how close is natsukashii to the word you want?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

^If we could take away the cringing sentimentality, it would work. The Japanese are very sentimental.

filmfann's avatar

It doesn’t quite work here, but I like the word Pentimento.

A pentimento, in painting, is “the presence or emergence of earlier images, forms, or strokes that have been changed and painted over”.
After years, sometimes the earlier image is revealed, showing the artists original concept.
Sometimes you look back on conversations or events, and realize an alternate meaning.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

^That’s a wonderful word.

@all I will likely just give her the link to this question so she can read the thread for herself.

flutherother's avatar

The phrase “auld lang syne” comes to mind. It’s a phrase old people would use when thinking back to the days of their childhood, now long gone. There is sentiment in it without sugar coating and a lot of respect for old ways.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@filmfann. That is a fantastic word! I hope I can use it at some point in my life. Thank you!

LostInParadise's avatar

Palimpsest is a similar term for text that has been written over. A major work of Archimedes was discovered under a prayer book.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

^And that is another fabulous word.

Kardamom's avatar

Coining a term: recollectivist or recollectivism.

rebbel's avatar


Poseidon's avatar

Reminiscing or reminiscences

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