Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation when suddenly — poof! — just like that, the word you wanted to use simply evaporated?
You know you know this word, but magically, it has disappeared into the folds of your brain, forcing you to come up with a substitute that may or may not be accurate.
Know that you aren’t alone — and there’s a whole thread on Twitter of people sharing similar experiences.
In February, a man named Paul Coxon (@paulcoxon) shared, “Hello my name is Paul, I have a PhD in physics and thanks to a random brain freeze forgot the word for photon so had to call it a ‘shiny crumb’ in front of my colleagues.”
Other Twitter users quickly chimed in, confirming that Coxon is not alone in this experience. Check out these responses to his tweet:
• “Hello my name is Sue. I have a PhD and a career in landscape archaeology and thanks to a random brain freeze forgot the word for trowel so had to describe it as ‘a digging implement’ to an archaeologist colleague”
• “I’ve got 3 first class degrees, but once forgot the name for the oven; calling it the ‘hot box’. It happens to us all.”
• “Ironically, I was doing a lot of reading and explained to my wife that because of this I was really increasing my ... ‘number of words that I know’. Vocabulary. I forgot the word vocabulary.”
• “Haha my sympathies. Shiny crumb is a much better name for it. My 17yo forgot the word for ‘foal’ in the summer and called it a ‘horse puppy’ instead. I don’t think any one of us will ever use the word ‘foal’ again...”
• “my favourite brain fart in recent memory was forgetting the word ‘weekend’ and substituting with ‘finishment of the week’”
• “I have referred to the fridge as the ‘cold oven’ & the mechanic as ‘the car vet’ this week alone.”
Forgetting words is not unusual. In fact, there’s even an article about it on Dictionary.com, noting the experience is called lethologica — “the inability to remember the right word.”
Seeing the thread on Twitter is a reminder it happens to everyone. Sometimes, there are moments we just can’t control, and these are perfect examples of the experience!