Brain Fart Moments Where People Failed To Remember a Basic Word

We’ve all been there. You’re in the middle of a conversation or a presentation and suddenly your mind goes blank. What was that basic word, the one that I really really should know? Your panicked reaction to this untimely brain fart only makes things worse, as your mind desperately scrabbles for an alternative… and that’s how comedy is born. Scroll down to see the funniest examples!

Hello my name is Paul, I have a PhD in physics and thanks to a random brain freeze forgot the word for photon so had to call it a “shiny crumb” in front of my colleagues

One of my cleverest and most fabulous friends at university (now PhD in neuroscience) once forgot the word for what she wanted in a restaurant and tried to explain with “like a really REALLY wet salad”. Soup. She wanted soup.

One of the guys I used to work with forgot the name for a tape measure - called it a "how far machine" - it's passed into everyday vocabulary now!

My brother in law said couldn’t remember the word ‘friends’, so called them ‘the people you don’t hate’.

I hope the woman who forgot the word “iced” and so asked me for a caramel macchiato “on the rocks” yesterday is doing well

my dad was trying to call me a feminist but he couldn’t remember the word for it and instead he called me a womanizer… i am never letting him live this down

It turns out that this “tip of the tongue” phenomenon has a name: lethologica. It’s defined as a feeling that accompanies the temporary inability to retrieve information from memory. These moments occur quite often and this frequency increases with age. When you experience lethologica, you know that the word you are looking for is there, it’s just tantalisingly outside of your grasp. It seems to have been closed off, behind some kind of mental brick wall. When something finally comes along to trigger the missing information, the sense of relief is real. So what can you do when you are struck by such moment? It could be as simple as squeezing your left fist. By clenching your fist (or, theoretically, any significant portion of the left side of your body) you increase blood-flow to the contralateral or right hemisphere, which gives the retrieval mechanisms a lift. 90 seconds should be enough. If nothing else it could relax your mind and help you to focus on something else, because the more you beat yourself up trying to remember the word, the harder it actually becomes.

If anyone is wondering just how hungover I am, I forgot the word for twins earlier on and pointed to a woman’s kids and said ‘matching babies’

Not in the same delightful league, but in the final throes of writing SATC, I forgot the word 'fork' while sitting in a restaurant. I asked a waiter for "one of the metal things with four stabby fingers". Obviously, he looked at me like I was insane

I referred to grapes as hydrated raisins tonight because I forgot the word "grape."

forgot the word for accent so I called it a voice font

never forget when i said “my emotional aesthetic” because i couldn’t remember the word “feelings”.

When I was pregnant with my first, I cried one day because I forgot the word "banana." I described it to my then-husband, "It comes it its own case! It's yellow!"

Not in the same league, but I once completely blanked on 'Iceberg Lettuce' and had to call it 'Arctic Cabbage' instead. My wife has never, ever, let me forget that one. It was over 25 years ago.

Hello. I have a degree in English Lit and thanks to a random brain freeze, I forgot the word for "memory", so I had to call it a "remembrance thought".

I’m a prosecutor. During a particularly dramatic closing argument years ago, I forgot the defendant’s name. “And that’s why you should find … (pause) … (pause) … THAT GUY guilty!” And so I learned why prosecutors always say “the defendant.” :-)

I taught English for many years and the moment I had to take an oral IELTS test I forgot the word for ‘puppies’ and said ‘small dog babies’.

A friend in uni tried to explain he was looking for “an out-pouch to hold fluid” at a party. A cup. He wanted a cup.

Hi, I'm El and I've been a barista for almost 5 years and I forgot the word for "lid" so I called it "teapot rooftop" once. :D

Once in class I was teaching forces and motion and couldn’t remember the word “rocket”. Out of my mouth came “space machine”. Then I looked at the class and said “That’s right, space machine”.

I am a human woman who has had a body for all her life and asked my boyfriend whether the shirt he was trying on 'reached his hand ankles'... Wrists to normal people I guess.

My name is Zander, I have spent 9 years at university and am a pupil barrister. Thanks to a brain freeze the other day I forgot the word “draw” and said “pictographically describe”. Thankfully it was not in a work setting, but it was in front of 5 barrister friends.

I forgot the word ‘articulate’ in an interview for a voluntary post and instead said ‘I’m good at saying things’. I am a criminal barrister

During a lecture on the Mannheim Orchestra, I couldn’t remember the term “tremolo,” so I described the orchestra’s fondness for decorating passages with the “nervous chihuahua” effect.

Reminds me of my two year old daughter explaining a hot dog to me as a "meat pickle"

Have you ever experienced a brain fart moment? Let us know in the comments below!

8 thoughts on “Brain Fart Moments Where People Failed To Remember a Basic Word”

  1. While eating hummus with a friend, my wife was trying to say how much I like to lay in the hammock. Instead she said “my hummus likes to lay in the hammock.” Quickly trying to salvage the situation she sputtered, “ No, my husbands name is hummus!” 🤦‍♂️

  2. So one day I needed to reach something higher than I could get to, and I needed the small step ladder. Except that I couldn’t remember “step ladder,” so I called it the “standy-onny-thingie.” It’s been that ever since, in my family.

  3. My grandmother, 92 was a mathetmatics professor for 40 years.
    Once she tried to introduce herself to a group, forgot the name of her own profession, and she has been “the numbers lady” ever since.

  4. My daughter had a good one. She heard herself pass gas for one of the first times. We asked what happened and she said, “Daddy, my bottom burped”… now if you think about it, she was exactly accurate at 2 years old. 3 1/2 decades ago, and we still use it.

    She also told me that the inside of her neck hurt….

    A 2yo genius

  5. My mom would differntiate the +/- battery terminals by calling the + terminal a “pokey-outie”

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