Definition of hypnagogic
- hypnagogic hallucinations
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The hypnagogic state is that heady lull between wakefulness and sleep when thoughts and images flutter, melt, and transform into wild things, wrote Boston Globe correspondent Cate McQuaid (October 1, 1998). Some scientists have attributed alien-abduction stories to this state, but for most people these "half-dreams" are entirely innocuous. Perhaps the most famous hypnagogic dream is that of the German chemist Friedrich August Kekule von Stradonitz, who was inspired with the concept of the benzene ring by a vision of a snake biting its own tail. You're not dreaming if the Greek root hypn-, meaning "sleep," seems familiar - you've seen it in "hypnotize." The root "-agogic" is from the Greek -agōgos, meaning "inducing," from agein meaning "to lead." We borrowed "hypnagogic" (also spelled "hypnogogic") from French hypnagogique in the late 19th century.
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