What is it called when somebody's words (that were spoken in the past like grandmother's childhood advice) sort of resound in your head/mind(in the present time). What words/phrases can be used to express that echo type effect?

Can I say: Her words flashed back/resounded/echoed in my ear.

I have searched Internet but cannot find anything that express my meaning.

  • Ear or mind? Not ear.
    – AIQ
    Commented Oct 27, 2021 at 13:11
  • If one has to choose from your provided choices, the best case would be echoed. For more variations and usage, refer to the answers below. Commented Oct 27, 2021 at 21:56
  • Just for your interest if it is a musical melody which you hear once and then cannot get out of your head for the rest of the day it is called an earworm. Obviously that does not work for your example of words.
    – mdewey
    Commented Oct 28, 2021 at 13:35
  • 4
    I would use reverberate. Also you can be somewhat figurative and use terms like stuck. replayed endlessly, or were trapped.
    – LawrenceC
    Commented Oct 28, 2021 at 17:50
  • If you mean that you are remembering the sound of your grandmother's voice I would use replaying, or echoing if it replays over and over again.
    – Peter
    Commented Oct 29, 2021 at 1:35

6 Answers 6


Your words "resounded/echoed in my ear" are themselves idiomatic English, though "resound" is very grand and dramatic. You could also use those verbs with "... in my head/mind" rather than "... in my ear".

There's also "kept rattling around in my ear/head/mind" and "kept running through my head/mind" (but not "running through my ear").


resonate (verb)

3rd person present: resonates

  1. produce or be filled with a deep, full, reverberating sound
  2. evoke images, memories, and emotions.

I find on many occasions that my grandmother's words still resonate with me.

  • This is quite a valid word, however it is more of technical term because of its close connection to "resonance". No offense meant! Commented Oct 27, 2021 at 22:55
  • That would have been my first suggestion as well!
    – kopaka
    Commented Oct 28, 2021 at 14:07
  • 2
    Thank you for the edit @DhanishthaGhosh. I understand its connection to "resonance" and I thought that would add to the perceived sensation of the experience the OP cited, but there are many connections between words in English. To me, this is also similar to dismissing the word "descendent" or "procession" because they could be confused with the technical term "descendant" or "precession", respectively.
    – MarkMYoung
    Commented Oct 28, 2021 at 18:14
  • 3
    Resonate as used in the sample sentence is common usage, and not at all technical.
    – barbecue
    Commented Oct 29, 2021 at 21:12

Eh, here's something that's not heard everyday:


1: to go over in the mind repeatedly and often casually or slowly
2: to chew repeatedly for an extended period
// The question got us ruminating on the real value of wealth.
// He ruminated over/about the implications of their decision.

You could say

I sat by the fire and ruminated about Grandma's advice ...

Use it like you'd use "contemplate".

You should know that it is sort of more commonly used for mental health purposes: Healthline

What is rumination?
Has your head ever been filled with one single thought, or a string of thoughts, that just keep repeating… and repeating… and repeating themselves? The process of continuously thinking about the same thoughts, which tend to be sad or dark, is called rumination.

But there are better ways to say what you are trying to say:

  • Grandma's advice kept playing in my head, over and over and over again.
  • Her words kept running through my mind; I couldn't stop thinking about what she told me ...
  • I couldn't stop thinking about Grandma's advice; her words occupied my mind, and ...
  • 2
    I just want to emphasize "the same thoughts, which tend to be sad or dark". Ruminating has a negative connotation and is usually a bad thing. Commented Oct 28, 2021 at 1:48
  • 1
    I think this answer needs an example of how to use the word, because it doesn't work with the sentence structure OP used. I suppose somebody might say "I've been ruminating on what she said". But if OP tried to put this word into the example from the question they'd end up with something like "her words ruminated in my mind", which doesn't make any sense.
    – Chris H
    Commented Oct 28, 2021 at 6:21
  • What an odd answer! "The word is ruminate, but don't use it! Use these phrases instead!" And ruminate is not an obscure word.
    – CJ Dennis
    Commented Oct 28, 2021 at 7:35
  • 1
    @ChrisH I've added some examples, including how OP should use it in this context.
    – AIQ
    Commented Oct 28, 2021 at 15:55
  • @CJDennis What I find more odd is you putting in quotation marks words that are not mine! I never said "don't use it". Those are your words. Saying that there are better ways to say something does not mean I am saying don't use it. Why would you even say that? OK maybe not obscure, but not common usage.
    – AIQ
    Commented Oct 28, 2021 at 15:58

Ring in one's ears

If you say that someone's words ring in your ears, you mean that they were the words of great weight and/or importance, something extremely exciting or traumatizing; and that you remember them extremely clearly, even if they were originally said decades ago.

My grandmother had always been telling me to leave the dinner's potatoes on the plate if I'm full, but never leave the meat. Her words ring in my ears to this day, and they made me the strong carnivore I am.

All these horrible things my abusive mother was telling me in my childhood are still ringing in my ears.

  • @Dhanishtha Ghosh thanks for formatting!
    – Bad Chad
    Commented Oct 27, 2021 at 22:30
  • No worries at all. Remember to highlight something's usage henceforth. It is more comprehensible. Commented Oct 27, 2021 at 22:31

The ideas you gave would work well. A few more:

I reflect on their words, which come back to me, or they resonate with me. They have stayed with me or stuck with me. More prosaically, I think of them often.


I think the most common idiom is to say that "her words haunted me", if it doesn't happen anymore, or "her words haunt me to this day", if it still happens.

This corresponds to definition 2b of the word "haunt" in Merriam-Webster:

t.v.: to recur constantly and spontaneously to

This is most often used when the recollection produces a feeling of disquiet, like a warning or something hurtful.


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