Is there an English equivalent to "presque vu": the feeling that something is on the tip of your tongue?

Usually, I hear "on the tip of my tongue", however, I am curious to know if there are other English words meaning the same.

  • 3
    I know there's a word for that. I can almost see it in my mind.
    – Robusto
    Jul 16, 2015 at 19:22
  • Please can you edit your title to remove any use of French? This SE is for English. Your query is much more suited to a translation forum such as can be found here forum.wordreference.com/forums/… Jul 16, 2015 at 19:41
  • @chaslyfromUK, I understand, but I am not requesting for translation. I got curious after reading a similar question on "this SE"- english.stackexchange.com/questions/57690/…
    – ajaypanx
    Jul 16, 2015 at 19:46
  • 1
    Presque vu is a loan term and English already.
    – ermanen
    Jul 16, 2015 at 19:49
  • 1
    @chaslyfromUK I don't see why one should not refer to non-English words here, especially when trying to discover an English equivalent. Besides, English is not a language which exists in isolation from all other languages. It is merely one branch of the Indo-European family. And what happens in French is of relevance to English. Unless of course you think that God is an Englishman and therefore the language has a special status in that regard.
    – WS2
    Jul 16, 2015 at 20:06

3 Answers 3


Just like déjà vu, presque vu has been adopted into the English language (as you can see in the link you provided), although I imagine it is much less widely recognized than déjà vu.

So the English equivalent is simply presque vu.


I just checked Traxler's Introduction to Psycholinguistics where he calls them tip-of-the-tongue experiences, but he also refers to the phenomenon playfully in the title of the section as access interruptus (p. 45).


I believe the newest common expression to describe the sudden, temporary disconnect of cognition and vocalization is "brainfart". (AmE)

  • Oldbag: Really? That would seem to refer to using the wrong word, meaningless in the context, not to refer to being at a loss for a word. I say "verbal logjam" when it happens to me.
    – ab2
    Jul 16, 2015 at 23:12
  • @ab2 - I'm not particularly fond of it either - but, that's the way I've heard it used, and it's currently popular.
    – Oldbag
    Jul 16, 2015 at 23:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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