I've been trying to think of a good word for this for years.

Of course, you can misplace or lose something along the lines of "I've lost my car keys". They could be anywhere in the house right? Maybe your cousin moved them when she borrowed it yesterday! Or you can lose your wallet - it could be at any of the shops you were at today. You can lose your title deeds, meaning they could be packed away anywhere, or maybe someone accidentally threw them away in the last year, haven't seen them for a year, where the heck are those title deeds?

But there's a particular type of misplaced or lost where you...

"just had it in your damn hand"

right then! I just had it in my hand - where is it? I was walking out the door with the iPad in my hand, and now it's gone? It was right here, I had it in my hand!

In my household, I have been trying to think of a SWR for this for so long, we made one up (it's the "quick-loss") and I have started saying that. "I just quick-lost the blah blah, I was bringing it right to you and now it's gone!"

I feel that the word "lost" doesn't really apply well; nor does misplaced, really.

Is there any clear term that makes the point you just literally had it in your hand and now don't know where it is, you were purposefully holding it and in your stream of consciousness don't even understand why you're not still holding it, don't know what happened to it between now and a few beats ago - any ideas?

  • 6
    'mislaid' is a possibilty I suppose. Do you want a noun, a verb or a what? Aug 20, 2015 at 13:48
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    I usually just say I "spaced" my phone/keys/book/screwdriver/glasses/drink that I was just holding.
    – Robusto
    Aug 20, 2015 at 14:15
  • ROb - that is an amazing suggestion. Could you Answer it ?
    – Fattie
    Aug 20, 2015 at 14:53
  • Hi Chas .. "Do you want a noun, a verb or a what" SWRs don't work like that. SWRs are the "drunken slurred conversations" of this QA site. Man hug bro!
    – Fattie
    Aug 20, 2015 at 14:54
  • @JoeBlow: Sure.
    – Robusto
    Aug 20, 2015 at 15:27

3 Answers 3


I usually just say I "spaced" my phone/keys/book/screwdriver/glasses/drink that I was just holding.

In the vernacular, spaced usually means someone overlooked something due to inattention or forgetfulness, both of which point to loss of focus (which is the usual cause of what you're describing).


There is a process from chemistry called sublimation. It describes a solid becoming a gas, for example, snow becoming water vapor.

To be transformed directly from the solid to the gaseous state or from the gaseous to the solid state without becoming a liquid.

A more recognizable term is evaporation, but that refers to a liquid becoming a gas.

Perhaps the puzzling disappearance of a solid item could be expressed as:

Damn, my car keys just sublimed.

Or perhaps more accessibly:

My iPad evaporated again.

This might have the additional benefit of applying a scientific veneer to an all-too-human failing. Both the hearer and the listener know the iPad didn't become a gas.

  • Two awesome suggestions!
    – Fattie
    Aug 20, 2015 at 14:55
  • What's the word that Iain Banks (RIP) uses (err, used) in for example his last book and others to mean the process of leaving in this universe, popping out of it, for a higher plane of reality?
    – Fattie
    Aug 20, 2015 at 14:56
  • Just so. From iain-banks.net/us/the-hydrogen-sonata : "Now they've made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilizations; they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence."
    – rajah9
    Aug 20, 2015 at 15:01
  • Sublime, quite right. Just as you say in example two. The f###ing number seven screwdriver just sublimed! I'm giving you a big-ass bounty for this.
    – Fattie
    Aug 20, 2015 at 15:04
  • Why was this downvoted? It is a clever, well explained and nearly complete answer, lacking only a cite for the definition -- an important omission -- but making a comment is the way to go on that, not summarily downvoting with no explanation.
    – ab2
    Aug 20, 2015 at 16:12

Say, your keys got "raptured".


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