What is a nicer, less immature saying?

I love using 'A Freudian slip', but that is only applicable in certain situations.

  • 5
    I sometimes say a "thinko".
    – Dan Bron
    Sep 10, 2014 at 16:49
  • 16
    I don't think a Freudian slip is the same. I brain fart is when you forget something that you normally would know, such as someone's name. A Freudian slip is when you say the wrong thing, inadvertently revealing some subconscious thought. It is also used to refer to any accidental use of a sexual term in an inappropriate context.
    – asmeurer
    Sep 10, 2014 at 18:43
  • 51
    A Freudian slip is when you say one thing, but mean your mother.
    – SrJoven
    Sep 10, 2014 at 19:38
  • 6
    "Brain flatus" would be a little more formal. ;-) Sep 10, 2014 at 21:01
  • 3
    Only a moment ago I had an answer to suggest, but it seems to have escaped me. ;)
    – talrnu
    Sep 11, 2014 at 13:44

10 Answers 10


In formal contexts, you might consider a temporary "lapse", or, more specifically, a "mental lapse".

In less formal situations, I've often used "thinko"; sometimes elderly people say they've had a "senior moment".

If you've specifically overlooked something otherwise obvious, then a short, descriptive term is a (minor) "oversight".

  • 4
    Duplicated one of your offerings based on failure to read, so deleted. Links to sources would be good.
    – bib
    Sep 10, 2014 at 18:07
  • 5
    A momentary lapse of reason, if you're a Pink Floyd fan.
    – hobbs
    Sep 13, 2014 at 2:24
  • I like a mental lapse and the pink floyd reference per @hobbs, im going to use both. Thanks
    – myol
    Sep 13, 2014 at 9:19
  • perfect answers from Dan
    – Fattie
    Sep 13, 2014 at 10:06
  • 1
    I think 'senior moment' gets used somewhat ironically by less-than-elderly people at times, too.
    – PeterT
    Sep 13, 2014 at 11:45

Mental hiccup is a fairly common idiom which can be used in circles where "brain fart" might raise eyebrows.

I would not, however, equate it with a "Freudian slip" which implies an inadvertent exposing of someone's subconscious/secret thoughts or desires.

  • another great answer
    – Fattie
    Sep 13, 2014 at 10:06

There is also "mental block" or "neuron misfiring" (not commonly used but I like it).

  • 2
    You get some alliterative appeal by combining these, and I've heard it used before: "mental misfire"
    – Izkata
    Sep 12, 2014 at 17:10
  • We could also say a "miswired neuron", which sounds a little like "getting ones wires crossed", although that is a more specific situation. Feb 6, 2015 at 17:26

My favorite is from an Encyclopedia Brown book that I read 30+ years ago:

Bubbles in the Think-Tank.

I sometimes refer to others (or even myself) as suffering from cranial-rectal inversion, but I feel that implies a longer term than the momentary lapse implied of a brain fart or bubbles in the think-tank.

  • 3
    Despite the superficial technicality of the words, I find "cranial-rectal inversion" to be substantially more immature than "brain fart". Certainly more graphic, anyway. Sep 11, 2014 at 16:17

I've used "synapse lapse" before. It is informal but more refined than a fart.

  • 1
    I like the awkward rhyme. :)
    – mskfisher
    Sep 12, 2014 at 14:27

Possibly more offensive than brain fart, a senior moment or a blonde moment

  • 3
    -1 OP asked for "What is a nicer, less immature saying?" not "more offensive"
    – Shokhet
    Sep 11, 2014 at 5:17
  • 2
    Incidentally, I don't think that "senior moment" is very offensive.
    – Shokhet
    Sep 11, 2014 at 5:18
  • 7
    @joeytwiddle only if they understand it.
    – oerkelens
    Sep 11, 2014 at 15:02
  • 2
    Whether or not it's offensive really depends on context. Judge your company and if they're offended, don't use the term again.
    – AJFaraday
    Sep 11, 2014 at 15:27
  • 10
    I think both these terms can only be used in a self-deprecating way. I have a blonde friend who is highly intelligent but who will claim "blonde moments" when she makes a mistake; similarly, a 60's scientist who forgets a name and blames a "senior moment" is recognizing that the typical effects of aging are affecting his brain. Don't ever use it on others - "wow you had a real blonde moment there" - unless you know them very, very well.
    – Floris
    Sep 11, 2014 at 15:55

I've used "I just had a moment." and heard "Are you having a moment?" Short for senior moment I guess.

  • Generally 'having a moment' refers to someone having a tantrum or otherwise being unsuitable for the company of others, no?
    – atroon
    Sep 11, 2014 at 17:22
  • That would be 'having a fit' @atroon. Upon being berated for obvious incorrectness I'd say, "Sorry, I just had a moment there."
    – Mazura
    Sep 11, 2014 at 17:46

A mental aberration is something I've used before. It even features in ODO's dictionary entry:


A departure from what is normal, usual, or expected, typically an unwelcome one:
I see these activities as some kind of mental aberration

  • 11
    To me, that phrase would imply something actually pathological about the workings of the brain in question. Sep 10, 2014 at 18:59
  • This sounds slightly too extreme while also too general; it could be applied to believing a logical inconsistency. It isn't directly wrong, though.
    – Magus
    Sep 10, 2014 at 19:00

If you're squeamish about saying fart, try the word 'mistake'.

  • 8
    "What's that smell?" "Oh sorry, I just mistook." Sep 11, 2014 at 16:25
  • 1
    @RyanJ I feel we must now endeavour to put that phrase into common usage.
    – AJFaraday
    Sep 12, 2014 at 8:27
  • Those of us who mistake of mistake prefer the term "fluffy." Sep 15, 2014 at 20:38

How about having a blind spot?

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