hypnagogic

adjective
hyp·​na·​go·​gic | \ ˌhip-nə-ˈgä-jik How to pronounce hypnagogic (audio) , -ˈgō- \
variants: or less commonly hypnogogic

Definition of hypnagogic

: of, relating to, or occurring in the period of drowsiness immediately preceding sleep 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.

Examples of hypnagogic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Now, of course, skeptics would say: hypnagogic sleep, and you’re dreaming. Brad Japhe, The Hollywood Reporter, 31 Oct. 2019 What remains the same is his signature hypnagogic melodies and cassette-like lo-fi aura. Efrain Dorado, RedEye Chicago, 24 Oct. 2017 What remains the same is his signature hypnagogic melodies and cassette-like lo-fi aura. Efrain Dorado, RedEye Chicago, 24 Oct. 2017

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

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First Known Use of hypnagogic

1886, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hypnagogic

borrowed from French hypnagogique, from Greek hýpnos "sleep" + -agōgos "leading, drawing forth" + French -ique -ic entry 1 — more at somnolent, -agogue

Note: The word hypnagogique was introduced by the French scholar and physician Alfred Maury (1817-92), apparently first in print in the article "Physiologie psychologique des hallucinations hypnagogiques, ou des erreurs des sens dans l'état intermédiaire entre la veille et le sommeil," Annales médico-psychologiques, tome 11 (1848), pp. 26-40. Maury introduces the word as follows: "J'ai donné l'épithète d'hypnagogiques (1) aux hallucinations qui forment la matière de cet article, parce qu'elles s'offrent presque toujours comme les précurseurs du sommeil, et qu'elles l'amènent en quelque sorte …[footnote] (1) C'est-à-dire qui amènent le sommeil, de ὕπνος, sommeil, et αγωγός, qui amène." ("I have given the name hypnagogic (1) to the hallucinations that make up the subject of this article because they almost always present themselves as the precursors of sleep, and because they in a way lead to it …[footnote] (1) That is to say, which bring on sleep, from hýpnos, sleep, and agōgós, that brings on.")

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The first known use of hypnagogic was in 1886

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Cite this Entry

“Hypnagogic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hypnagogic. Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for hypnagogic

hypnagogic

adjective
hyp·​na·​go·​gic
variants: also hypnogogic \ ˌhip-​nə-​ˈgäj-​ik How to pronounce hypnagogic (audio) , -​ˈgō-​jik How to pronounce hypnagogic (audio) \

Medical Definition of hypnagogic

: of, relating to, or occurring in the period of drowsiness immediately preceding sleep hypnagogic hallucinations — compare hypnopompic

Other Words from hypnagogic

hypnagogically \ -​ji-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce hypnagogic (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on hypnagogic

Nglish: Translation of hypnagogic for Spanish Speakers

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