Is there a term for this? I had my SIL's birthday present on my desk for weeks, and then the day I went to visit her, I forgot to bring it with me because it had sort of become part of the furniture and I didn't notice it there. Or when you walk into a room and notice the smell, but then you get used to it after a while so you don't notice it anymore. Or you walk past a shop so often that you don't notice it, and when you want to buy something that the shop sells, you forget about the shop's existence because you don't notice it anymore.

  • This happens to me with items in my refrigerator or kitchen cabinet. They just start to blend in and I don't really see them anymore.
    – user139454
    Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 4:05
  • The official term for "getting used to something" is "getting used to something". You even keep using it yourself to express exactly what you want to express — but you are so used to it you aren't even noticing.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 10:39

6 Answers 6


Inured is a good choice, especially if the stimulus is a negative one.



tr.v. in·ured, in·ur·ing, in·ures also en·ured or en·ur·ing or en·ures To habituate to something undesirable, especially by prolonged subjection; >accustom: "Though the food became no more palatable, he soon became >sufficiently inured to it" (John Barth).


You give three different situations that I feel require different expressions.
The gift can:

  • blend into your surroundings.
  • melt into the background.

You can become oblivious of/ to your surroundings.
You can also become accustom to something.

I worked in the room so often I became accustomed to the smell of cigarette smoke.

The gift sat on my desk for so long, it just blended into my surroundings.

I walked past the shop so often I became oblivious to its existence.

It is also possible to become numb to something however this seems to be used more when talking about sensations or experiences.

My boss yelled at me so much, I became numb to it after a while.

"it" refers to the experience of your boss yelling at you.

Note, though that "I didn't even notice it," implies that it is truly invisible to you, whereas "accustomed to" implies that you had to adapt to something so there was a conscious effort. So, my first example (depending on your intentions) might better be phrased "I worked in the room often, so I had to accustom myself to the smell of cigarette smoke." I mention this last example because Paul Ryan recently took over John Boehner's office, and will have to sterilize the room because he cannot take the smell. "I don't think I can accustom myself to the smell. I'm sure John was oblivious to it."

JEL suggested "acclimate." I feel this is an excellent addition. From my point of view, acclimate can also be applied to the situation described above about John Boehner's previous office. We also use the word acclimate for weather situations. I offer this word because I think it will help you better describe a situation in the future. Each of the words suggested have different uses. I don't think "acclimate" would fit the "gift on my desk situation." but it could fit another you have in mind.

  • Thorough. You might work 'acclimate' in there with reference to the smell.
    – JEL
    Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 3:39
  • @JEL may I include this comment into my answer? Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 4:10
  • Yes, I suggested it because I saw the on-hover recommended comments as a way of suggesting improvements.
    – JEL
    Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 4:11

Consider, obliviate.

: to forget; to wipe from existence.

late 14c., "state or fact of forgetting," from Old French oblivion (13c.) and directly from Latin oblivionem (nominative oblivio) "forgetfulness; a being forgotten," from oblivisci (past participle oblitus) "forget," originally "even out, smooth over, efface," from ob "over" (see ob-) + root of levis "smooth," from PIE *lei-w-, from root *(s)lei- "slime, slimy, sticky" (see slime (n.)). Meaning "state of being forgotten" is early 15c. Wiktionary


I think the word you're looking for is oblivious.

Example sentence: He became oblivious to my presence - his eyes stuck on the waitress - what a horrible date!


Desensitized or desensitised depending on where you are from, as per the free dictionary.com:

desensitize verb

past tense: desensitised; past participle: desensitised

  1. make less sensitive. "creams to desensitize the skin at the site of the injection"

  2. make (someone) less likely to feel shock or distress at scenes of cruelty or suffering by overexposure to such images.

    • "people who view such movies become desensitized to violence"
  3. free (someone) from a phobia or neurosis by gradually exposing them to the thing that is feared.


A straightforward word would be Accustomed, or as a phrase, taken for granted.

Example (comic) usage: So many coders have taken the StackOverflow community for granted that if it goes down, their programming career is effectively over. :P

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