As the title says.

Looking for a word that would explain a person yearning to a time that person hasn't lived in?

For example somebody born in the 90's saying he wishes he was born during the Wild-West.

I know such word exists in German, but I can't find it anymore, and I'm hoping someone can point me in the right direction here.


1 Answer 1


I don't think there is a word for this in standard English.

"Nostalgia" can be used. This is more often a longing to return to a past times that have been experienced, but it is sometimes used, perhaps with an adjective:

This does not lead to a pseudo-romantic nostalgia for the 18th century

Steampunk is nostalgia for a past that never was. (BBC)

The very particular meaning seems not to exist in English, but that doesn't stop people from inventing new words. On a blog Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows the word "anemoia" is proposed for "nostalgia for a time you've never experienced". But be aware that this word has almost no real use, and won't be found in regular dictionaries.

You may be best using a more general word, like "yearning".

He yearns to be a cowboy in the Wild West.

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