Proust·​ian ˈprü-stē-ən How to pronounce Proustian (audio)
: of, relating to, suggestive of, or associated with Marcel Proust or his writings: such as
: marked by a complex, highly detailed style
In spite of its Proustian sentences and its surrealist feints, Krasznahorkai's novel is in fact a rather elementary tale.Robert Boyers
… as she described the mid-20th-century Schenectady city-parks tennis scene in Proustian detail, the hours flew by like anvils.Charles Leerhsen
: relating to or evoking the recall of a forgotten memory
… there is something Proustian about the tea sandwich. For some people, it evokes warm memories of church socials, showers, Mom's bridge-club luncheons, and similar white-glove occasions.Evelyn Battaglia
… Terry had already started a fire using several cords of dried hickory, whose smell can induce Proustian reveries in southerners everywhere.Pat Conroy

Examples of Proustian in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Marcel Proust is so famous for his evocative writing that any instance in literature in which a memory or feeling is conjured by a sensory trigger is called a Proustian moment. Anna Luisa Rodriguez, Washington Post, 11 Oct. 2023 The effect of this habit is Proustian but its origin is not. Joshua Hunt, New York Times, 26 Sep. 2023 There’s something Proustian about the command, which hints at a simpler time. Angelica Aboulhosn, Smithsonian Magazine, 8 Sep. 2023 Proust Barbie One of the only Barbies referenced that doesn't exist is Proust Barbie, a gag about a hypothetical doll based on French author Marcel Proust that comes after Barbie has a Proustian memory. Brendan Morrow, The Week, 24 July 2023 The smell of said box triggers a Proustian sense memory from Barbie of her birth. Time, 21 July 2023 The specific scene the director is referencing is when Margot Robbie’s Barbie steps inside her plastic packaging and makes a remark that the familiar smell is a Proustian memory. Carly Thomas, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 July 2023 Barbie is still a magnet for controversy about what the feminine ideal is, as well as a Proustian madeleine for multiple generations whose childhoods were shaped by dressing her up as a vision of what a grown woman might be. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 18 July 2023 Swann isn’t present yet, nor has Proust discovered the central engine of the novel — involuntary memory — but so much else is here, at once recognizably Proustian but different and fresh, including a preliminary portrait of the author’s gruff and adored grandmother. Michael Dirda, Washington Post, 22 June 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Proustian.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1923, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Proustian was in 1923

Dictionary Entries Near Proustian

Cite this Entry

“Proustian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2024.

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