nos·​tal·​gia | \ nä-ˈstal-jə How to pronounce nostalgia (audio) , nə- also nȯ-, nō-; nə-ˈstäl- \

Essential Meaning of nostalgia

: pleasure and sadness that is caused by remembering something from the past and wishing that you could experience it again A wave of nostalgia swept over me when I saw my childhood home. He was filled with nostalgia for his college days.

Full 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

nostalgist \ nä-​ˈstal-​jist How to pronounce nostalgia (audio) , 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 Located inside Dezerland Park, Arcade Orlando features 300 skill, rhythm, nostalgia and other video games, as well as classic pinball and toddler riding games. Kathleen Christiansen,, 10 Sep. 2021 Cottagecore looks forward, using the aesthetics and nostalgia of past eras to right present-day wrongs, just like the solarpunk aesthetic, or the Lilliputian genre of talking animals. Pearse Anderson, Wired, 9 Sep. 2021 The most notable American-sports docuseries, such as ESPN’s 30 for 30 and The Last Dance, which chronicled Michael Jordan’s final NBA championship, tend to lean on nostalgia more than on current action. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, 7 Sep. 2021 The late Ann Snitow, a founder of the second-wave group New York Radical Feminists, repeatedly warned against nostalgia. Amia Srinivasan, The New Yorker, 6 Sep. 2021 The sights and sounds — from the fans buzzing around campus without masks to the band blasting music to his family greeting him — induced a sense of nostalgia and familiarity., 4 Sep. 2021 Branagh's genuine affection and nostalgia for his subject suffuse the movie; if only the misty romanticism of his story could match it. Leah Greenblatt,, 4 Sep. 2021 Shohei Ohtani’s dual-threat feats stir Babe Ruth nostalgia. Ron Kroichick, San Francisco Chronicle, 4 Sep. 2021 But wherever people are experiencing comic book culture, Pust said the best part of his job is helping people find joy, nostalgia and even a sense of safety in storytelling. Kaitlyn Bancroft, The Salt Lake Tribune, 14 Sep. 2021

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

borrowed from New Latin, from Greek nóstos "return, homecoming" (nominal derivative, with o-ablaut and the suffix -to-, from the base of néomai, neîsthai "to come/go [home, back], return") + -o- -o- + -algia -algia; néomai going back to the Indo-European verbal base *nes- "escape danger, return safely," whence also Germanic *nesan- "to be saved, return safely" (whence Old English nesan, genesan "to be saved, survive" [strong verb class V], Old Saxon ginesan "to be saved, convalesce," Old High German, "to recover, be saved," Gothic ganisan "to be saved"), Sanskrit násate "approaches, resorts to someone, joins"; from a causative stem *nos-éi̯e- Germanic *nazjan-, whence Old English nerian "to save, preserve," Old Frisian nera "to save, nourish, Old Saxon nerian "to rescue, redeem, nourish," Old High German nerien, nerren "to nourish, support, save, heal," Gothic nasjan "to save, heal"; and from lengthened grade *nōzjan- Old Icelandic nœra "to refresh, nourish"

Note: The Latin word nostalgia was coined by the physician Johannes Hofer (1669-1752), a native of Mühlhausen/Mulhouse in Alsace, in his doctoral thesis Dissertatio medica de ΝΟΣΤΑΛΓΙΑ, oder Heimwehe (Basel, 1688), as a calque of the German word Heimweh. — Also assigned to the Indo-European verbal base *nes- by some are Tocharian A nasam, B nesau "(I) am," though Douglas Adams (A Dictionary of Tocharian B, Revised and Enlarged, Rodopi, 2013, s.v.) proposes a more attractive solution.

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Time Traveler for nostalgia

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The first known use of nostalgia was in 1729

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Dictionary Entries Near nostalgia

no sooner than



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Last Updated

16 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Nostalgia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for nostalgia


nos·​tal·​gia | \ nä-ˈstal-jə How to pronounce nostalgia (audio) \

Kids Definition of nostalgia

: a longing for something past


nos·​tal·​gia | \ nä-ˈstal-jə, nə-, nȯ-; nə-ˈstäl- How to pronounce nostalgia (audio) \

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 How to pronounce nostalgia (audio) \ adjective
nostalgically \ -​ji-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce nostalgia (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on nostalgia

Nglish: Translation of nostalgia for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nostalgia for Arabic Speakers


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