I'm having a "brain-fart" on how to grammatically and otherwise correct (proper) way of saying "to be oblivious to" or "to overlook something familiar" because of a recent appearance change.

For ex: My boyfriend's dirty work belt went through the laundry, and because it was no longer dirty, and looked brand new again, he totally overlooked it, and was oblivious to it being on top of the dresser.

I know there's another way to say that the right way, but can't remember it.

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    If you’re an engineer and a nerd you can say, “I guess my work belt neural net was overfitted.”. ;-) – Jim Jul 8 '17 at 15:24
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    The belt failed to register. – Phil Sweet Jul 8 '17 at 16:30
  • It is probably related to perceptual blindness aka inattentional blindness. – Stefan Aug 7 '17 at 15:45
  • Sorry, Katelyn; I suggest there's no such term nor, in the manner you suggested, could there be. – Robbie Goodwin Jun 4 '18 at 1:50
  • This sounds something like a "Somebody Else's Problem Field." – Cascabel Aug 3 '18 at 20:19


For example: He didn't recognize it sitting right in front of him.

You might also use "unrecognizable," as in, "After I washed your belt, it was totally unrecognizable to you."


I think the word you are looking for is: ignored

refuse to take notice of or acknowledge; disregard intentionally.

You could also use: disregarded

pay no attention to; ignore.

Having said that I would also modify the sentence. It's a bit long, running on with too many coordinating conjunctions (and).

Edit: Another good option


having no knowledge of a situation or fact.

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    To me, ignore and disregard imply a conscious decision. OP’s situation is more like, “I must be blind, it was right in front of my face on the dresser this whole time.” – Jim Jul 8 '17 at 15:21
  • @Jim I agree. That's why I added the 3rd option after reading it again. – Kace36 Jul 8 '17 at 19:58

An alternative (idiomatic) expression to imply this is: under one's nose.

Perhaps something like:

... and because it was no longer dirty, and looked brand new again, he totally overlooked it, and was oblivious to it though it was right under his nose on top of the dresser.


under one's nose
Right there, in plain view, as in: 
Your keys are on the table, right under your nose.
This expression is generally a reminder that something one cannot find is actually there. [c. 1600]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

  • This doesn't address the title question as revised (it's probably not got a constructive answer). – Edwin Ashworth Jul 8 '17 at 14:05
  • idiom: 'if it were a snake ...' – lbf Mar 5 '18 at 22:49

Inattentional blindness,

also known as perceptual blindness, is a psychological lack of attention that is not associated with any vision defects or deficits. It may be further defined as the event in which an individual fails to perceive an unexpected stimulus that is in plain sight

This term originated with Irvin Rock, the experimental psychologist.

It is often demonstrated with skits such as "Did you see the gorilla?"

  • ooops...just realized this was in a comment...sorry @Stefan – Cascabel Aug 3 '18 at 20:49

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