I'm thinking about the eerie feeling you get when you go to a place and you recognise that it was once plastered all over the news because a serious crime was committed there - or if a serious crime has happened in your neighbourhood and it's now plastered on the news. Or if a crime drama is filmed in your neighbourhood. I'm specifically thinking about crime but it could be a word that covers a more general meaning. A compound word or phrase is acceptable.

Word searches I've tried: deja vu; set jetting; recognise

Example sentence:

I got off the train and felt [word].


3 Answers 3


Is there a specific word/phrase for when you recognise a location from a film/TV/the News?

No, there is not.

  • Isn't that a bit presumptuous? I mean there may be a word for it, you never know.
    – user405662
    Commented May 31 at 5:35
  • No, not really presumptuous at all. Would you argue that there is possibly a word for "to hit a brick made of compressed sawdust with a left-handed hockey stick?" Note that the question precludes illustrations in books and paintings or indeed seeing such a place in real life.
    – Greybeard
    Commented May 31 at 8:24
  • This is how words get made
    – LRG
    Commented May 31 at 15:21
  • @LRG Of course, but words appear in response to a need... I had hoped that ""to hit a brick made of compressed sawdust with a left-handed hockey stick?" might convey that to ordinary people.
    – Greybeard
    Commented Jun 1 at 10:33

Yes, there’s dé·​jà vu, adopted from the French, meaning “already seen.”

The experience is the same, whether or not you’ve actually seen it before.

  • OP mentions déjà vu in their question! Commented May 30 at 9:31
  • déjà vu doesn't mean that in English. It means that you feel you recognise something, but probably haven't. It's illusory. Commented May 30 at 19:27
  • @WeatherVane That’s what the poster is asking about—an illusory event, the impression that you’ve already seen something.
    – Xanne
    Commented May 30 at 21:55
  • @KateBunting Not mentioned in the original question.
    – Xanne
    Commented May 30 at 21:57
  • 1
    Second paragraph: "Word searches I've tried: deja vu; set jetting; recognise". Commented May 30 at 23:27

Not a single word, but "a sense of familiarity" would cover it, or if that were compressed to a single word:

I got off the train and felt "home".

The quote marks indicate that it's not home as in the place we live; rather its an allusion to everything meant and implied by being at home.

I imagine walking into a movie/TV set that you watched a lot would inspire a similar feeling, as would visiting a youtube-personality that you watch a lot, like Big Clive or similar.

  • 1
    The point is that it's not familiar. It's somewhere you recognise but it's not how you recognise it. I asked a friend and she said 'defamiliarisation' which I think is more the feeling I'm after but would love for it to have some connection to the screen. Alas, I don't think the word exists.
    – LRG
    Commented May 31 at 15:21

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