Nostalgia, built on two Greek roots, nostos, a return, and algos, pain (as in neuralgia, cardialgia, etc.) is a feeling you can’t ever understand until you’ve experienced it – and you have probably experienced it whenever some external stimulus has crowed your mind with scenes from an earlier day.
You know how life often seems much pleasanter in restrospect? Your conscious memory tends to store up the pleasant experiences of the past (the trauma and unpleasant experiences may get buried in the unconscious), and when you are lonely or unhappy you may begin to relive these pleasant occurrences. It is then that you feel the emotional pain and longing that we call nostalgia.
The adjective is nostalgic, as in films that are nostalgic of the fifties’, or as in ‘he feels nostalgic whenever he passes Vaughan Gardens and sees the house in which he grew up’.
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