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

nostalgist \ nä-​ˈstal-​jist How to pronounce nostalgist (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 The Parker Playhouse is in the middle of a $30-million renovation, set for completion in January, that will marry nostalgia with modern requirements, including the post-pandemic need for extra space and flow. Ben Crandell,, "Sneak peek: 8 things to look forward to in Parker Playhouse renovation | PHOTOS," 1 Sep. 2020 The two-burner Coleman Classic Propane Stove is nostalgia in a box and a steal at around 45 bucks. Joe Ray, Wired, "The Joy of ‘Analog’ Cooking on a Green Coleman Camp Stove," 30 Aug. 2020 It may have been reprised with 2016's Fuller House, but nothing beats the nostalgia-inducing original. Sophie Dodd,, "Sister, Sister Is Coming to Netflix! Here's Where to Stream All Your Favorite Throwback Sitcoms," 27 Aug. 2020 The word nostalgia was coined in 1688 by a Swiss doctor to describe the homesickness of students from Bern studying in Basel, servants working in France, and soldiers fighting abroad. Carina Chocano, Condé Nast Traveler, "Recapturing Home on Annual Family Trips to Lima," 19 Aug. 2020 There's so much nostalgia that comes with remembering Astroworld the theme park. Shelby Stewart, Houston Chronicle, "Two years later, Travis Scott's 'Astroworld' is still on everyone's playlist," 3 Aug. 2020 This little device feels perfect for kids, teenagers and, frankly, anyone who just enjoys the nostalgia of analog. Shayna Murphy, USA TODAY, "The Instax Mini 9 is one of the best instant cameras ever—and now it's on sale," 13 July 2020 But this exhibit has its rewards, some built on fascination, others on familiarity, many of them linked to the nostalgia that grown-ups feel about this particular toy. Ray Mark Rinaldi, The Know, "Need something to do with your kids? Take them to see famous art recreated with Legos.," 5 July 2020 Vault time stokes feelings of nostalgia and wonderment. Sunset Magazine, "From the Sunset Magazine Archives: The Roof is a Lawn," 31 Aug. 2020

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of nostalgia was in 1729

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Statistics for nostalgia

Last Updated

15 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nostalgia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for nostalgia


How to pronounce nostalgia (audio)

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