I am looking for a word, that is suitable for the following scenario in bold:

For two years I used to go to the same restaurant with my best friend. Then I moved somewhere else. A year passed, and I came back to the same restaurant and ordered a dish. Suddenly, someone entered, and immediately I thought it was my old friend. However, in reality it was someone else.
passage copy-edited

So, what do we call a situation when we start thinking that the past is repeating but in reality, it's not. Like having hallucination that you are with your friend, but in reality he is not here. He's coming in your mind, because you spent a long time with him.

  • You could say you had a reverie about the past experience you've had at the hotel... Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 9:50
  • Thank you, this is the sentence I was looking for. Is there any single word to express this whole? If not, I am good with this. Thank you so much. Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 9:57
  • 1
    I don't believe reverie fits.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 10:04
  • @Mari-LouA As per the definition of reverie: a state of being pleasantly lost in one's thoughts; a daydream. The sentence fits not the word(reverie), because I lost in such a way, that I feels his presence near to me. That's why I requested for a particular word. Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 10:11
  • Well, daydreaming is not exactly the same as thinking the past is repeating, or that you are reliving a past experience. But if you're happy with that expression then I'd suggest that @AndySemyonov post his suggestion, so you can accept the answer. :)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 10:14

3 Answers 3


You seem to be referring to a deja vu:

  • the feeling that you have already experienced something that is actually happening for the first time

  • something that has happened many times before : something that is very familiar

  • For the first part deja vu seems correct, but when I visit the place again after a long time, the things are actually not happening (my friend actually didn't visit the place), they are just my hallucinations (it just in my mind, that he is here). I am looking the word for second part. Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 9:57
  • @SarvsavSharma - Your scenario is well within the normal coloquial definition of "deja vu".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 12:41
  • @Sarvsav, I would be careful with your use of "hallucination" here. As I understand it, a hallucination is something not immediately recognised as such, but mistaken for objective reality. If you hallucinated that your old college professor had entered the restaurant, you might go up to him and ask how he was doing. Whereupon the staff might ask you why you are talking to the umbrella stand. You insist that the umbrella stand is your prof, and they take you away.
    – David Pugh
    Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 12:46
  • @HotLicks: I believe that the scenario described in the question is the exact opposite of the normal colloquial definition of “déjà vu”. In the normal colloquial definition of “déjà vu”, the subject perceives the current situation accurately, and involuntarily/unconsciously imagines (fabricates) a past event that corresponds to the current situation. In the OP’s scenario, he recalls the past accurately, and involuntarily/unconsciously imagines (fabricates) a current event that resembles and resonates with the past. Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 2:24
  • 1
    @Scott - Well there's always jamais vu.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 2:30

I suggest flashback:


    a past incident recurring vividly in the mind
    Example: He’s having flashbacks of his days in the war.

the Oxford dictionary (American English):

    A sudden and disturbing vivid memory of an event in the past, typically as the result of psychological trauma or taking LSD.


    A flashback, or involuntary recurrent memory, is a psychological phenomenon in which an individual has a sudden, usually powerful, re-experiencing of a past experience or elements of a past experience.  These experiences can be happy, sad, exciting, or any other emotion one can consider.  The term is used particularly when the memory is recalled involuntarily, and/or when it is so intense that the person “relives” the experience, unable to fully recognize it as memory and not something that is happening in “real time”.

You are describing what is known as confabulation, aka the Mandela Effect.

Psychiatry. the replacement of a gap in a person's memory by a falsification that he or she believes to be true. (dictionary.com)

This is done without the conscious intention to deceive.

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