I am looking for a word that describes a feeling that I know I felt in the past, but I cannot remember what is was.

I found nostalgia a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. But it seems to imply that I kow what I am feeling.

I hope this makes sense and thanks in advance.

  • Hello, acuencadev. Since you know that nostalgia is a reasonably close relative, perhaps a search for synonyms is the place to start. If you then find nothing helpful, explain where you've searched, and contributors may then have further suggestions. Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 16:31
  • As well, you need a sample sentence showing how the target language is to be used, per the SWR tag. Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 16:32
  • 1
    I'm not entirely sure how you know you felt a feeling before but don't know what that feeling was. If you know what it was (in order to remember feeling it) then probably nostalgia is correct, as you found. If you don't know what it was, how do you remember having it at all?
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 16:47
  • Deja vu only with feelings?
    – user172447
    Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 20:38
  • @AndrewLeach I suppose a crisis averted could leave one with just a memory of the scare without the actual feeling of the scare, at least for a time.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 10:35

3 Answers 3


Answering your question, I think a nice word is wistfulness characterized by melancholy; longing; yearning. It's pensive, especially in a melancholy way.

  • I really like this word. Thanks!
    – acuencadev
    Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 13:43

Not exactly one word, and not exactly what you meant, but it's the closest I can think of

  • dé·jà vu

/ˌdāZHä ˈvo͞o/


noun: déjà vu

A feeling of having already experienced the present situation. tedious familiarity. "to list the opponents of his policies is to invite boredom and a sense of déjà vu"


"Saudade" is an emotional state of conspicuous melancholic or profoundly nostalgic longing for something or someone that one cares for, loves, not necessarily real. Moreover, it often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing may never be had again or attained.

  • Does this word exist in the English language? The Wikipedia page that you plagarised your text from suggests it's actually Portuguese. Commented Nov 4, 2022 at 22:12

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