I'm looking for a word that describes when you learn a new word (or phrase or song) and then hear it all over the place.

My daughter did not recognize either the melody or the name of the song The Girl from Ipanema. After playing it once (and watching this Adam Neely video, The Girl From Ipanema is a far weirder song than you thought), she began to recognize it in many novel contexts. Indeed, she couldn't unsee it.

This is different from déjà vu (where you falsely recognize something) and jamais vu (where you don't recognize something familiar).

I'd be happy with either a verb or a noun. Obligatory fill-in-the-blanks:

I learned the word schadenfreude and now I _____ (verb) it everywhere.

Never hearing the song, I saw a documentary on The Girl from Ipanema and now have a sense of ______ (noun).

I had a prof who was fond of saying, "When you build a better hammer, it's surprising how many things start to look like nails." This word should entail the concept of the transition from unrecognized to recognized, unfamiliar to familiar, once looking not-like-nails, now looking-like-nails.

  • Earworm comes close but it may not apply to your "schadenfreude" example. Or perhaps iterate/Iteration. This, by the way, is a good question. For some reason I believe the exact word for this may come from psychology.
    – user405662
    Mar 27, 2021 at 13:58

1 Answer 1


There is a transitive 'phrasal verb', be tuned in to something.

'Now I am tuned in to this song.'

tuned in (to someone/something) very aware of someone or something so that you understand that person or thing well:

  • She’s tuned in to all the latest fashions.
  • Our staff are trained to be tuned in to the needs of children.

[Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary

There is at least the connotation that there was a time when the agents involved weren't tuned in to the song / trends / needs. They were unaware, not on the right wavelength, though the song etc was all around them.

  • I'm afraid this doesn't quite cut it.
    – user405662
    Mar 27, 2021 at 14:03
  • 1
    @O.. at the duplicate (which I missed) suggests "Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon" or "frequency illusion". But essentially, you've become attuned to the word / song / fashion .... Mar 27, 2021 at 14:07

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