Dogeared Lit

Your Take on “Nostalgia” — Pain or Pleasure?

Typewritten word "nostalgia" with a typewriter in the background
Written by JoAnn Chateau

There is a natural, soothing nostalgia for the more simple, safe, straight-forward days of yore (i.e., those days before some national foul-up compelled you to follow politics). But, did you know that the word “nostalgia” was first used to name a disease?

…Although we now associate nostalgia with fond memory, the word was coined to refer to an unwanted medical condition. The algia in nostalgia means “pain”…

Johannes Hofer (1669–1752) was a Swiss physician who named the condition, which he identified as a mania tied to homesickness in Swiss mercenary soldiers. The nost- in nostalgia means “homecoming,” and such sentimental yearning for home during field operations was viewed as a disorder of the brain, with symptoms ranging from melancholy and malnutrition to brain fever and hallucinations…

~ Merriam-Webster

READ MORE: Those Were the Days: on ‘Nostalgia’ | Merriam-Webster

The way things are going in the world… personally, I think the original meaning of the word should be revived. A little melancholy, PTSD, or nostalgia anyone?

How do you use the word “nostalgia?” Are you old-school or new-school on its meaning? Do you find that “nostalgia” expresses pleasure, or pain? What does “nostalgia” actually mean to you?

Show us? Feel free to use the word “nostalgia” in a sentence or two in the comments below.


The Wonderful Realm of Words

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About the author

JoAnn Chateau

JoAnn Chateau likes progressive politics and loves the canines. She sometimes writes fiction about Chester (the Alpha Bichon) and his friends -- with a dash of humor and dab of Poli-Sci. JoAnn's views and insights are tinted by her past profession in Counseling, Christian theological studies, and Library and Information Science training. Retired now, JoAnn enjoys the creative life.

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