I seem to remember that there's a word for the feeling you get when you are having a dream that's vivid and happy, then you wake up and that's gone, it's a sadness and it's not necessarily fleeting. It may be one of those non-English words that has no English equivalent. Does anyone know?

  • 1
    just outside the ball-park: ephemera/l/ity; evanescent May 12, 2020 at 14:49
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    You need to provide more focus. Are you thinking of something that's only applicable to dreams? What words have you already considered and rejected, and why? May 12, 2020 at 15:17
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    Well of course your bubble has burst, but that doesn't really capture the sense of loss.
    – Hot Licks
    May 12, 2020 at 17:37
  • Are you thinking about something along the lines of "bereft"?
    – Matt S.
    May 12, 2020 at 18:16
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    There is a feeling of uncanniness is situations like this. Would it be too much to ask for you to capitalize the word English? Also, "it's" with an apostrophe and not "its" in your paragraph. These usages would signal a minimum respect for the writing here.
    – Lambie
    Jun 10, 2021 at 13:40

5 Answers 5


The closest word I can think of for such a situation is wistfulness.

a feeling of sadness because you are thinking about something that is impossible or in the past

He admits a certain wistfulness for his days as governor.

A return to the dream of childhood innocence is mere wistfulness.



Here are some additional possibilities:


  • suggestive or expressive of sadness or depression of mind or spirit
  • causing or tending to cause sadness or depression of mind or spirit
  • depressed in spirits : dejected, sad pensive

[Merriam Webster]


  • musingly or dreamily thoughtful
  • suggestive of sad thoughtfulness

[Merriam Webster]


A dream is an illusion - when you wake, you become disillusioned.

disillusionment noun [ U or S ] UK /ˌdɪs.ɪˈluː.ʒən.mənt/ US /ˌdɪs.ɪˈluː.ʒən.mənt/ (also disillusion) a feeling of being disappointed and unhappy because of discovering the truth about something or someone that you liked or respected: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/disillusionment


From the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, a “dictionary of made-up words for emotions that we all feel but don't have the words to express” comes this invention:

The Kick Drop

The moment you wake up from an immersive dream and have to abruptly recalibrate to the real world—unquitting your job, falling right back out of love, reburying your lost loved ones.

In American football, the drop kick is when a player drops the ball and kicks it as it bounces off the ground, used as a method of restarting play.


A word that seems to me to be closely related to what you seek is nostalgia: from Merriam–Webster,

a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition.

It applies more directly to happy memories than to good dreams, but since it is impossible to return to either I think it may fit well.

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    I don't understand why this answer was downvoted.
    – fev
    Jun 10, 2021 at 14:48

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