Printable Version
Pronunciation: ri-mê-nis Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: To muse alone or talk with others about memories, indulge nostalgically in recollections of past events.

Notes: Reminiscing is pleasant reflection even about war experiences. Reminiscences are about camaraderie, bravery, courage; the horrors of war are just recollections. This word retains is French accent on the last syllable. The adjective is reminiscent and the action noun is reminiscence. If you ever need a personal noun you have a choice: reminiscer or reminiscencer.

In Play: Reunions are often venues of much reminiscing: "At their college reunion Phil Anders and Marian Kine reminisced over their star-crossed romance back then." Retirement often initiates reminiscence: "Since retiring, my wife and I enjoy reminiscing with our grandchildren about all the adventures of our lives."

Word History: The verb reminisce is a backformation from the noun reminiscence. This word was taken by English from Old French as is and never modified at all. The Old French word was a noun derived from Latin reminiscentia "remembrance, recollection", a noun based the verb reminiscor "to remember, recall". This verb is made up of re- "again, over" + miniscor "to think about" + -en(t)s, the present participle ending + -ia, an abstract noun ending. The root of this word is the combining form of men- "to think, mind", which also emerged in English as mind, Greek mania "madness", and Latin men(t)s "mind". The last went into the making of the words underlying the English Latinate borrowings mental, mentor, and demented. (Now a round of e-applause for Albert Skiles, our old friend and prolific contributor, for today's most pleasant Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

P.S. - Register for the Daily Good Word E-Mail! - You can get our daily Good Word sent directly to you via e-mail in either HTML or Text format. Go to our Registration Page to sign up today!