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What is a nicer, less immature saying?

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

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    I sometimes say a "thinko". – Dan Bron Sep 10 '14 at 16:49
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    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 '14 at 18:43
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    A Freudian slip is when you say one thing, but mean your mother. – SrJoven Sep 10 '14 at 19:38
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    "Brain flatus" would be a little more formal. ;-) – David Richerby Sep 10 '14 at 21:01
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    Only a moment ago I had an answer to suggest, but it seems to have escaped me. ;) – talrnu Sep 11 '14 at 13:44

10 Answers 10

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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".

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    Duplicated one of your offerings based on failure to read, so deleted. Links to sources would be good. – bib Sep 10 '14 at 18:07
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    A momentary lapse of reason, if you're a Pink Floyd fan. – hobbs Sep 13 '14 at 2:24
  • I like a mental lapse and the pink floyd reference per @hobbs, im going to use both. Thanks – myol Sep 13 '14 at 9:19
  • perfect answers from Dan – Fattie Sep 13 '14 at 10:06
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    I think 'senior moment' gets used somewhat ironically by less-than-elderly people at times, too. – PeterT Sep 13 '14 at 11:45
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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 '14 at 10:06
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There is also "mental block" or "neuron misfiring" (not commonly used but I like it).

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    You get some alliterative appeal by combining these, and I've heard it used before: "mental misfire" – Izkata Sep 12 '14 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. – joeytwiddle Feb 6 '15 at 17:26
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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.

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    Despite the superficial technicality of the words, I find "cranial-rectal inversion" to be substantially more immature than "brain fart". Certainly more graphic, anyway. – WinnieNicklaus Sep 11 '14 at 16:17
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I've used "synapse lapse" before. It is informal but more refined than a fart.

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    I like the awkward rhyme. :) – mskfisher Sep 12 '14 at 14:27
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Possibly more offensive than brain fart, a senior moment or a blonde moment

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    -1 OP asked for "What is a nicer, less immature saying?" not "more offensive" – Shokhet Sep 11 '14 at 5:17
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    Incidentally, I don't think that "senior moment" is very offensive. – Shokhet Sep 11 '14 at 5:18
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    @joeytwiddle only if they understand it. – oerkelens Sep 11 '14 at 15:02
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    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 '14 at 15:27
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    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 '14 at 15:55
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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 '14 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 '14 at 17:46
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A mental aberration is something I've used before. It even features in ODO's dictionary entry:

aberration

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

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    To me, that phrase would imply something actually pathological about the workings of the brain in question. – Kyle Strand Sep 10 '14 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 '14 at 19:00
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If you're squeamish about saying fart, try the word 'mistake'.

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    "What's that smell?" "Oh sorry, I just mistook." – Ryguy Sep 11 '14 at 16:25
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    @RyanJ I feel we must now endeavour to put that phrase into common usage. – AJFaraday Sep 12 '14 at 8:27
  • Those of us who mistake of mistake prefer the term "fluffy." – Howard Pautz Sep 15 '14 at 20:38
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How about having a blind spot?

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