I'm looking for something that can describe a sense of familiarity, unfamiliarity, nostalgia, and bittersweetness. I've considered deja vu, but it doesn't capture the nostalgia or bittersweetness.

Maybe this will give a better idea of what I'm feeling, but it pertains to the chance that I'll be moving into an apartment that's attached to a former residency of mine. I'm looking forward to moving there since I have a lot of amazing memories from that location, but I have this weird anticipated feeling of familiarity and unfamiliarity since the apartment I will be living in isn't quite the same. To top it off, the bittersweetness comes from an unresolved problem I have with a former and incredibly close friend of mine, who used to live a few houses down from that apartment.

It's a hefty combination of feelings for one word or phrase to describe, I know, but it's really bothering me that I can't find a much shorter descriptor of what I'm feeling at the moment. (Also I'm sorry for being so wordy!)

  • I know it’s not a current word. The feeling of “not-quiteness” comes to mind when I have been traveling for too long. Goat cheese and broccoli on pizza brings that feeling. Or, Burger King in a country where cows are sacred does the same. Would otherworldness as opposed to otherworldly or otherworldliness work?
    – Dean F.
    Jul 8, 2020 at 22:36
  • 2
    What exactly is wrong with similar itself? Jul 8, 2020 at 23:43
  • 1
    Sounds like you're experiencing mixed feelings. :-) Jul 11, 2020 at 20:07
  • Deja vu, perhaps?
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 6, 2020 at 13:30
  • Stirring up bad memories, or something like that?
    – Stuart F
    Apr 30, 2022 at 13:51

2 Answers 2


I would go with Uneasy familiarity. Not necessarily bad but unknown going forward.

You have pleasant memories as well as reminders of problems with missing friends. The surroundings will be very familiar but soon the differences of the current place will be colliding with your old memories. Eventually the familiarity will be with a place that is no longer there except by street number. I get wordy too.


Jamais vu

I think jamais vu fits the description.


In psychology, jamais vu (/ˌʒæmeɪ ˈvuː/ ZHAM-ay VOO, US: /ˌʒɑːm-/ ZHAHM-, French: [ʒamɛ vy]), a French borrowing meaning "never seen", is the phenomenon of experiencing a situation that one recognizes in some fashion, but that nonetheless seems novel and unfamiliar.

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