nos·​tal·​gia | \nä-ˈstal-jə, nə- also nȯ-, nō-;nə-ˈstäl-\

Definition of nostalgia 

1 : the state of being homesick : homesickness

2 : a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition also : something that evokes nostalgia

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Other Words from nostalgia

nostalgic \ nä-​ˈstal-​jik , nə-​ also  nȯ-​, nō-​ ; nə-​ˈstäl-​ \ adjective or noun
nostalgically \ nä-​ˈstal-​ji-​k(ə-​)lē , nə-​ also  nȯ-​, nō-​ ; nə-​ˈstäl-​ \ adverb
nostalgist \ nä-​ˈstal-​jist , nə-​ also  nȯ-​, nō-​ ; nə-​ˈstäl-​ \ noun

Examples of nostalgia in a Sentence

To dwell even fitfully on the past, for James, was to risk crippling nostalgia; the past was the shadow side of will and therefore must be rejected. — Jackson Lears, Nation, 26 Feb. 2007 My own feelings were that since I'd jettisoned employment, marriage, nostalgia and swampy regret, I was now rightfully a man aquiver with possibility and purpose … — Richard Ford, Independence Day, 1995 … the script is written in advance, around the uplifting themes of our civic religion: reconciliation, patriotism, self-sacrifice, the bond of leader and little guy, nostalgia for what is inevitably called "a simpler time." — Katha Pollitt, Nation, 22 May 1995 Nevertheless, if one understands the nostalgia for war which marked these years of his break with America, it still remains a nostalgia that is empyreal and histrionic. Only once in his career did MacArthur lead as small a body of men as a company—one somehow feels that the idea of MacArthur, even as a boy, in command of anything less than a division verges on the ludicrous … — William Styron, "MacArthur," 8 Oct. 1964, in This Quiet Dust and Other Writings1982 A wave of nostalgia swept over me when I saw my childhood home. He was filled with nostalgia for his college days.
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Recent Examples on the Web

In a stroke of millennial-nostalgia-fueled genius, St. Ives is coming out with a rollerball version of its beloved Apricot Scrub, bottling the fresh, familiar apricot scent into a 10-milliliter bottle, according to Bustle. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "St. Ives Apricot Scrub Releases Rollerball Fragrance," 2 Aug. 2018 Stranger Things deploys '80s nostalgia, Dungeons & Dragons, otherworldly monsters, and a mysterious girl with a buzz cut who can move things with her mind. Danielle Fox, Seventeen, "What Show Should You Binge-Watch Next on Netflix?," 16 July 2018 Verdict: Never Stop Sneakin’ is an oasis of smart, earnest nostalgia in an ocean of cash grabs. Steven Strom, Ars Technica, "Never Stop Sneakin’ is a brilliant send-up of ’90s stealth games," 12 July 2018 The author writes about nostalgia, joy and sadness that go hand in hand. Jorge Ebro, miamiherald, "This is why this book about Tony Perez is a must-read for fans, lovers of Cuban history | Miami Herald," 18 May 2018 Like many of their contemporaries, Clipse music was a mix of nostalgia and bravado, and cocaine was a major piece of their repertoire. Josie Duffy Rice, The Atlantic, "The Gospel According to Pusha T," 12 July 2018 But Gary Gray, a 48-year-old from Minnesota who was in the stands awaiting Pastrana’s attempt to jump the fountains, said the whole event was about nostalgia. David Montero,, "Blast from the past: Motorcyclist Travis Pastrana jumps over Caesars Palace fountains, outdoing Evel Knievel," 9 July 2018 But this continual metamorphosis also creates a sense of nostalgia. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "Octopath Traveler is a modern take on classic Final Fantasy on the Nintendo Switch," 12 July 2018 Perhaps the comfort of nostalgia cannot and should not ever be completely divorced from the realities of its roots, but the way some of us cope is by transferring all those warm memories onto one work and discarding the ugliest bits of the rest. Aisha Harris, New York Times, "How ‘A Different World’ Survived the Downfall of Bill Cosby," 9 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nostalgia.' 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 nostalgia

1729, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nostalgia

New Latin, from Greek nostos return home + New Latin -algia; akin to Greek neisthai to return, Old English genesan to survive, Sanskrit nasate he approaches

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More Definitions for nostalgia



English Language Learners Definition of nostalgia

: pleasure and sadness that is caused by remembering something from the past and wishing that you could experience it again


nos·​tal·​gia | \nä-ˈstal-jə \

Kids Definition of nostalgia

: a longing for something past


nos·​tal·​gia | \nä-ˈstal-jə, nə-, nȯ-; nə-ˈstäl- \

Medical Definition of nostalgia 

1 : the state of being homesick

2 : a wistful or excessively sentimental sometimes abnormal yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition

Other Words from nostalgia

nostalgic \ -​jik \ adjective
nostalgically \ -​ji-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

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Comments on nostalgia

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