[ no-stal-juh, -jee-uh, nuh- ]
/ nɒˈstæl dʒə, -dʒi ə, nə- /


a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one's life, to one's home or homeland, or to one's family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time: a nostalgia for his college days.
something that elicits or displays nostalgia.

Nearby words

  1. nosophilia,
  2. nosophobia,
  3. nosopoietic,
  4. nosopsyllus,
  5. nosotaxy,
  6. nostalgic,
  7. nostalgist,
  8. nostalgy,
  9. nostoc,
  10. nostologic

Origin of nostalgia

1770–80; < New Latin < Greek nóst(os) a return home + -algia -algia

Related formsnos·tal·gic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for nostalgia

British Dictionary definitions for nostalgia


/ (nɒˈstældʒə, -dʒɪə) /


a yearning for the return of past circumstances, events, etc
the evocation of this emotion, as in a book, film, etc
longing for home or family; homesickness

Word Origin for nostalgia

C18: New Latin (translation of German Heimweh homesickness), from Greek nostos a return home + -algia

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

Word Origin and History for nostalgia



1770, "severe homesickness" (considered as a disease), Modern Latin (cf. French nostalgie, 1802), coined 1668 by Johannes Hofer, as a rendering of German heimweh, from Greek algos "pain, grief, distress" (see -algia) + nostos "homecoming," from PIE *nes- "to return safely home" (cf. Old Norse nest "food for a journey," Sanskrit nasate "approaches, joins," German genesen "to recover," Gothic ganisan "to heal," Old English genesen "to recover"). Transferred sense (the main modern one) of "wistful yearning for the past" first recorded 1920.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for nostalgia


[ nŏ-stăljə, nə- ]


A bittersweet longing for things, persons, or situations of the past.
The condition of being homesick; homesickness.
Related formsnos•talgic (-jĭk) adj.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.