Is there a word to describe the feeling of the lump in the throat due to nostalgia? If so, what is it?

  • Do you want to know what the sensation of feeling a lump feels like? – tylerharms Dec 15 '12 at 21:10
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    You've got the flu. – Mitch Dec 15 '12 at 21:49
  • I think nostalgia or nostalgic is the word for that feeling under that circumstance (positively reminiscent). – JustinC Dec 16 '12 at 2:32
  • There is a difference between a "lump in the throat due to nostalgia" and a "lump in the throat, e.g., due to nostalgia." – Kris Dec 17 '12 at 7:04

I don't think it's very common, but I've heard people use the word verklempt to describe this feeling.

Verklempt is a Yiddish word that means "overcome with emotion." Pronounced "fer-klempt," people use it when they are so emotional that they're on the verge of tears or at a loss for words due to their emotional state.

(from http://judaism.about.com/od/glossary/g/Definition-Of-Verklempt-Yiddish-Word.htm)

  • +1 A very handy addition to anyone's vocabulary, esp., the emotional types. – Kris Dec 17 '12 at 6:52

I'm not sure there's a single word, but people often say...

I was choked up or felt choked up

...in situations where they're overcome by emotion like this.

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    I was pondering choked but wasn't sure whether it applied specifically to nostalgia. I thought choked was any emotion. – spiceyokooko Dec 15 '12 at 21:22
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    @spiceyokooko: I could be wrong, but I'd be very surprised if English had different words depending on whether the "lump in the throat" is caused by nostalgia, pity, penitence, etc. It might even be just a Pavlovian response to a Hollywood melodrama/weepie - they're all physically pretty much the same reaction, I think. – FumbleFingers Dec 15 '12 at 21:51

I'm not sure if this progression is universal, but a particular experience could induce a pang of nostalgia, which, in turn could cause a person's throat muscles to clench up and create that "lump" sensation you are describing.

In terms of how to describe that feeling in the throat, calling it a "lump" is the word commonly used to describe the sensation. If you want a verb, I would suggest clench.

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    I don't think I've ever come across clench used in the context of extreme emotions - except clenched teeth (anger), and buttock-clenching (fear/embarrassment). – FumbleFingers Dec 15 '12 at 21:55
  • clenched teeth, clenched buttocks, clenched throat: aren't they all the result of high emotion? – tylerharms Dec 15 '12 at 23:09
  • Of course - but as I say, in my experience, clench only turns up in the context of emotions like anger/fear/embarrassment, not nostalgia. – FumbleFingers Dec 15 '12 at 23:18

The lump is the feeling one gets just before crying which can be caused by many different emotions, including the [blank] of nostalgia.

(here's the fun part!):

The warm glow of nostalgia

The unsettling guilt of nostalgia

The sharp longing of nostalgia

The wispy rememberences of nostalgia

  • I think we're getting into the realms of "creative writing" here. Granted, the "warm glow of nostalgia" is fairly commonplace - a cliche, even. But there's not a single instance of any of the other three in Google Books (or indeed, "wispy rememberances). – FumbleFingers Dec 15 '12 at 22:05
  • @FumbleFingers, granted, my examples may be unique but I was giving the OP another way to show the emotion of nostalgia (thus causing a lump in the throat) instead of telling about a lump in the throat which is actually a reaction to an emotion. – Kristina Lopez Dec 15 '12 at 22:14
  • Well yes, but an answer shouldn't stray too far from the actual question - which in this case requests a word to describe the feeling of the lump in the throat.... Not that I think there is one, but we should probably at least stick to terms relating to physical/bodily reactions, rather than other associated mental/abstract constructs. – FumbleFingers Dec 15 '12 at 22:22
  • @FumbleFingers, of course. Stretching the boundaries? Probably. Adding some insight instead of just filling a blank? Definitely. ;-) – Kristina Lopez Dec 15 '12 at 22:43
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    As you say yourself - "here's the fun part!" I guess we'd none of us be here if it wasn't "fun" in some way. But I will be interested to see if someone comes up with a form of words specifically and only describing the physical reaction OP's asking about. – FumbleFingers Dec 15 '12 at 22:47

Globus ( -pharyngis)

a feeling of a lump in the throat
Globus is the medical term for a sensation of a lump in the throat where no true lump exists. It was once called Globus Hystericus, wrongly suggesting that this is a psychiatric condition. Globus is sometimes also referred to as Globus pharyngeus (pharyngeus is simply the medical term for the throat).

Wikipedia entry for Globus pharyngis includes psychosomatic factors to Globus:

In some cases the cause is unknown and symptoms may be attributed to a psychogenic cause i.e. a somatoform or anxiety disorder. It has been recognised as a symptom of depression, which responds to anti-depressive treatment. [emphasis mine]

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