I am looking for a single word to replace the phrase "through osmosis" with a single term, if that's even the correct phrase...


When my daughter's project won the science fair, I too felt pride through osmosis."

I don't mean it as a synonym for empathy, more like "your success is my success".


  • 1
    'by proxy' or 'by association' might work. Or 'I too felt a vicarious pride'.
    – Balaz2ta
    Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 7:04
  • 2
    Osmosis isn't really the right word. Osmosis is, literally, a process by which substances move across semi-permeable membranes and, figuratively, a process by which someone learns something without conscious effort. The phrase you need is either 'by proxy' or 'by association' as suggested by @Balaz2ta above.
    – BoldBen
    Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 8:30
  • @BoldBen Strictly yes, but you've never heard it as a metaphor? Some people have some weird metaphors, but I generally let them have them. Also, it's in dictionaries as: 2. A gradual, often unconscious process of assimilation or absorption: learned French by osmosis while residing in Paris for 15 years. / 4. gradual or unconscious assimilation or adoption, as of ideas. - Not exactly the same thing but the idea is of absorbing of spreading knowledge or ideas. In the OP's context it's pride.
    – Zebrafish
    Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 8:49
  • @Zebrafish Definitely Osmosis is a good word and commonly used beyond cell talk. It certainly has its place - but I think the problem here is that the process is not gradual or over time. It also feels a bit forced.
    – Balaz2ta
    Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 9:49
  • 1
    If you want to stick with "osmosis" as the metaphor, then "osmoticly" (see "osmotic") is a perfectly good word.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 12:08

2 Answers 2


As has been mentioned in a comment to the question, the adverb osmotically (see Merriam-Webster's definition of osmotic) is perfectly valid. So, if you are fine with the base word, then just use that.

If you want a different, single word, then my preference would be vicariously, also as mentioned in a comment.

From Merriam-Webster's definition of vicarious:

1 : experienced or realized through imaginative or sympathetic participation in the experience of another
// a vicarious thrill

So, your sentence could take one of these forms:

When my daughter's project won the science fair, I felt pride vicariously.
When my daughter's project won the science fair, I felt a vicarious pride.

Note that I removed the word too.

I am assuming that you mean to say that your daughter feels pride—and so do you. But if you say I too felt pride vicariously, that would mean you felt pride vicariously just as somebody else (your daughter) felt pride vicariously. However, your daughter's pride is not vicarious, it's direct. So, the too provides an unintended meaning.

Or you may actually have meant to use too but left out some other information:

As the other parents felt with their children, when my daughter's project won the science fair, I too felt pride vicariously.

Now it can be understood that you are joining the other parents in feeling pride vicariously.


When my daughter's project won the science fair, I too felt pride surrogately.

1.By means of a substitute; by proxy.

  • I hope I only get upvoted
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 8:43
  • 1
    You misspelled surrogately. (-1).... Just kidding, I think it's a creative answer. Hope you don't mind me editing the spelling. Also added a reference, that's a good idea too.
    – Zebrafish
    Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 9:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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