déjà vu

dé·​jà vu | \ ˌdā-ˌzhä-ˈvü How to pronounce déjà vu (audio) , -ˈvᵫ How to pronounce déjà vu (audio) \

Definition of déjà vu

1a : the illusion of remembering scenes and events when experienced for the first time
b : a feeling that one has seen or heard something before Despite a blond, swept-back mane all his own, Fonda looks startlingly like his father, Henry … . He even moves like his father, only dispelling the eerie feeling of déjà vu when he opens his mouth.— Peter Biskind
2 : something overly or unpleasantly familiar The team's poor start to the season was déjà vu for its long-suffering fans.

Examples of déjà vu in a Sentence

I entered the room and immediately felt a sense of déjà vu. When the car broke down again, it was déjà vu. The rise in housing costs is déjà vu all over again.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The cases are deja vu to the early 2000s, when federal prosecutors filed two major cases against the same gangs, intent on moving gang leaders out of state to high security federal prisons. Nate Gartrell, The Mercury News, "California gang leaders’ prison cell phones reveal secrets that stayed in the dark for years," 3 July 2019 Watching the England Under-21s take on Romania was a serious case of deja vu. SI.com, "England Self-Destruct Once More - Why Oh Why Does This Keep Happening at Major Tournaments," 22 June 2019 Everything old is new again, and yet the return of cargo pants, tiny sunglasses, and tattoo necklaces can feel like deja vu for those who lived through the trends the first time around. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Beyoncé Revives a Forgotten ’90s Trend," 31 Jan. 2019 More from Zak: Daniels is taking her show national next month, according to marketer Chris Roberson, whose clients include the deja vu and Hustler strip club chains. Callum Borchers, Washington Post, "How Stormy Daniels might be outsmarting Trump by denying an affair," 31 Jan. 2018 But this game for him was like deja vu of Game 3 last year for him, just all the way around. Tania Ganguli, latimes.com, "Warriors come from behind to beat the Cavaliers 110-102, take a commanding 3-0 series lead," 7 June 2018 For the ubiquitous chain, moving slower and shutting unprofitable stores may trigger some deja vu. Leslie Patton, chicagotribune.com, "Starbucks plans to open fewer stores in U.S. while closing many in larger cities," 19 June 2018 The destruction that occurred from the flood in Ellicott City — for the second time within two years — is dark deja vu for the merchants, workers, business owners and residents of that charming town and for the Baltimore region. Dan Rodricks, baltimoresun.com, "Ellicott City flood was no 'act of God'," 29 May 2018 In the devastating deja vu, raging rivers of water tore through the heart of the city, leaving homes and businesses flooded and some residents scrambling for dry ground. Jeff Pegues, CBS News, "Ellicott City flooding: Howard County had just received funding for extra drainage pipes," 28 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'déjà vu.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of déjà vu

1903, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for déjà vu

French, adjective, literally, already seen

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about déjà vu

Dictionary Entries near déjà vu




déjà vu




Statistics for déjà vu

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for déjà vu

The first known use of déjà vu was in 1903

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for déjà vu

déjà vu


English Language Learners Definition of déjà vu

: the feeling that you have already experienced something that is actually happening for the first time
chiefly US, informal : something that has happened many times before : something that is very familiar

déjà vu

dé·​jà vu | \ ˌdā-ˌzhä-ˈv(y)ü, dā-zhȧ-vᵫ̅ How to pronounce déjà vu (audio) \

Medical Definition of déjà vu

More from Merriam-Webster on déjà vu

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with déjà vu

Comments on déjà vu

What made you want to look up déjà vu? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to form ideas or theories about something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!