déjà vu

or de·ja vu

[ dey-zhah -voo, vyoo; French dey-zha -vy ]
/ ˌdeɪ ʒɑ ˈvu, ˈvyu; French deɪ ʒa ˈvü /


Psychology. the illusion of having previously experienced something actually being encountered for the first time.
disagreeable familiarity or sameness: The new television season had a sense of déjà vu about it—the same old plots and characters with new names.
the sense or feeling of having previously experienced something that really has been encountered before: It was déjà vu at the bobsled track today as the U.S. team again claimed the top podium positions.



Even if you can't be a professional chef, you can at least talk like one with this vocabulary quiz.
Question 1 of 9
You may have read the word "simmer" in a recipe or two, but what does it really mean?

Origin of déjà vu

First recorded in 1900–05; from French: literally, “already seen”

usage note for déjà vu

See resume2.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for déjà vu

déjà vu
/ (ˈdeɪʒæ ˈvuː, French deʒa vy) /


the experience of perceiving a new situation as if it had occurred before. It is sometimes associated with exhaustion or certain types of mental disorder

Word Origin for déjà vu

from French, literally: already seen
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Cultural definitions for déjà vu

déjà vu
[ (day-zhah vooh) ]

The strange sensation that something one is now experiencing has happened before: “I knew I had never been in the house before, but as I walked up the staircase, I got a weird sense of déjà vu.” From French, meaning “already seen.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.