Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


About | Media | Search | Contact  


Today's Word

Yesterday's Word




Pronunciation RealAudio

synesthesia or synaesthesia (sin-uhs-THEE-zhuh, -zhee-uh) noun

1. A sensation felt in one part of the body when stimulus is applied to another part, e.g. visualization of a color on hearing a sound.
2. (In literature) Using an unrelated sense to describe something, e.g. warm sounds or fragrant words.

[From New Latin, from syn- (together) + -esthesia, from Greek aisthesis (sensation or perception). Ultimately from Indo-European root au- (to perceive) from which other words such as audio, audience, audit, obey, oyez, auditorium, anesthesia, and aesthetic are derived.]

Here is an article on this topic from Scientific American.

"As many as one in 2,000 people has the mysterious condition known as synesthesia, a mingling of different senses into one. Some taste shapes. Others feel colours or see sounds."
Brad Evenson; Symphony of the Senses; National Post (Canada); Feb 26, 2002.

"Ms. Mass's novel for young teens about synesthesia, 'A Mango-Shaped Space' (Little, Brown, 2003), tells the story of a 13-year-old girl named Mia who perceives letters, numbers and sounds as colors."
Michelle Falkenstein; Jersey Footlights; The New York Times; Jul 4, 2004.

See more usage examples of synesthesia in Vocabulary.com's dictionary. This week's theme: Miscellaneous words


One has to be a lowbrow, a bit of a murderer, to be a politician, ready and willing to see people sacrificed, slaughtered, for the sake of an idea, whether a good one or a bad one. -Henry Miller, writer (1891-1980)

We need your help

Help us continue to spread the magic of words to readers everywhere


Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2024 Wordsmith