English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Jamais vu is when an experience that is old to you suddenly seems new. But I'm looking for something even more specific. Is there a word for that feeling you get when an old experience is refreshed by sharing it with someone new? For example, watching a favorite movie with someone who's never seen it, and enjoying it vicariously through their reactions.

share|improve this question
I'd add nostalgia, but it's not always a pleasant experience, so I'm adding it in case I look back on this question and ponder what might have been, had I submitted it as an answer. – SrJoven Aug 9 '14 at 3:16
Since you specifically mention "refreshed by sharing", rekindled interest came to mind. But, the "vicarious" connotation eludes me. – jxh Aug 9 '14 at 9:31
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The most common idiom to express this feeling in English is to experience it "again, for the first time".

Google's Ngram viewer shows this phrase has been in popular use since at least the early 1800s, and has enjoyed steadily increasing popularity since then.

Since this is a phrase, instead of an atomic unit like jamais vu, it's a bit more flexible, and you could extend it to mean the fresh sensation is due to the company of another person, simply by extending it: "again, for the first time, with you".

share|improve this answer
As a child of the 80s, I first encountered that phrase in the advertising slogan for a product I can't even remember. It's seemed tacky ever since. – Kevin Krumwiede Aug 8 '14 at 21:29
Oh, it's definitely tacky. And vapid. But I'm not the who will be saying it to my new girlfriend when we're watching The Princess Bride for the first time together ;) – Dan Bron Aug 8 '14 at 21:32
We meet again. For the first time, for the last time... Also, don't forget about Foreigner – Mazura Dec 19 '14 at 17:40

Relive: may describe the feeling of rejoicing an old experience again through the excitement of another person:

  • to experience again, as an emotion.

  • to experience (a sensation, event, etc) again, esp in the imagination.

share|improve this answer
I think idiomatically, relive is typically associated with unpleasant experiences and memories. – Dan Bron Aug 8 '14 at 21:02
It has no negative connotation. 'Relive positive experiences' vs 'relive negative experiences' in Google Fight shows 95k vs 61k. googlefight.com/… – Josh61 Aug 8 '14 at 21:12
That google fight is unlikely to be representative (think "relive the war" vs "relive our wedding day" and innumerable other potential phrases). Turning to references: live through (an experience or feeling, especially an unpleasant one) again in one's imagination or memory. "he broke down sobbing as he relived the attack" – Dan Bron Aug 8 '14 at 21:15
Well, pls produce 'representative' evidence if you want to support what you are saying. Personal opinions are welcome anyway!! :). Moreover, 'again, for the first time' may well refer to an unpleasant experience as well'. – Josh61 Aug 8 '14 at 21:20
I thought I had? The definition I quoted is verbatim from Googling "define relive". Here's another link with the same text: oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/relive (no, that's not the real OED; I don't have a subscription to that). – Dan Bron Aug 8 '14 at 21:30

reminisce, although it's more often used for discussion with others who shared the experience, the definition seems to include telling new people.

To recollect and tell of past experiences or events.

share|improve this answer
Either way, it's about discussion, not experiencing the repetition itself. – Barmar Aug 8 '14 at 20:42

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.