18 November 2004

Word for the Day

synesthesia var. syn├Žsthesia · (sin-&s-THII-zh&; --zhi-&) · 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. A mental disorder or condition characterized by transposition of senses, esp. of sight with sound.

3. (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.]

Link: a Scientific American article on the topic.

"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.
. . .
Shamelessly stolen from Wordsmith.

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