Thursday 23 September 2010

Lapse of Meaning

Often, as I write this blog, I lose all sense of meaning. There I am, blogging away about one particular word until I've written it so many times that it stops being a word and becomes instead just a jumble of letters. As in "The word dog was first used for dogs in the dog days and dog became the common word for dog when dogs were first introduced to dog land. Dogs are dogged and so they dog other dogs until dogb..."

Then I throw myself down upon the divan with my smelling salts and linger there, panting, until the word dog has regained significance.

There is a term for this. In fact there are several:

Refractory phase and mental fatigue
Lapse of meaning
Word decrement
Cortical inhibition
Reactive inhibition
Stimulus satiation
Verbal transformation

My favourite of these is lapse of meaning. I am now going to repeat the phrase until I go mad.

The Inky Fool reads the dictionary


  1. Ha!

    Oh, I've missed your blog. I've been trying to catch up in between school assignments.

  2. Is that like dying on a staircase ?

  3. The Antipodean, disturbed by a mental picture of Dogberry as a be-muslinned Regency heroine,24 September 2010 at 14:05

    There are a number of different ideas in that list: inhibition, being held back; satiation, being full; lapse and decrement, suggesting gaps; and then adaption, fatigue and transformation. At least six different concepts of how and why and what.

    I guess that means they don't really know how or why or what.