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I am looking for a one-word synonym (or short phrase) meaning "to make one reconsider" or "to make one rethink". This would be used in the context of explaining how an event makes one step back and realize what has passed them by over time.

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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

What about simply "gave me pause"? It sounds a bit funny, I suppose, but it implies a stopping to evaluate (or re-evaluate) things, to reconsider, to ponder anew. For example, "When I hit my fiftieth birthday, well, let's just say it gave me pause. I began to think about all the opportunities I had missed, all the dreams I had failed to pursue."

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All great answers thank you all. –  Austin Dec 23 '12 at 20:13
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"Re-evaluate" or "ruminate" can be used in that context.

From FreeDictionary.com:

Re-evaluate meaning: to consider again especially with the possibility of change or reversal ex.:"even though itʼs late, if you turn in the paper now, Iʼll reevaluate your final grade in the class"

Ruminate meaning: To turn a matter over and over in the mind. To chew cud. v.tr. To reflect on over and over again.

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You could use the expression "disabuse" here if the person's original notion was erroneous by your way of thinking.

disabuse (vb. usually followed by of ): to rid (oneself, another person, etc) of a mistaken or misguided idea; set right.

For example,

After receiving so many condolence cards, I was disabused of the notion that people are inherently apathetic.

I disabused her of the belief that mowing the lawn is easy.

"Disabuse" requires an object, so it wouldn't work if you were trying to make a person re-think, as in re-learn how to interpret the world. In that case, a word like "liberated" might be better.

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