Thursday, December 21, 2006

Spooky coincidences

I've read things referring to the Gashleycrumb Tinies twice in the past couple of weeks. I'd gone through almost 30 years on this earth and never heard of them before. Clare referred to them on her blog, and the Knitting Carmudgeon says on hers today that it's their family general term for anyone under 16. How delightful.

However, this sort of thing happens quite regularly, don't you find? Like you discover a new word or shop or kitchen implement and then see it referred three or four times in quick succession by different sources. Is there a term for this phenomenon? Like in German they have a term for that annoying tune you get stuck on the brain all day - they call it an earworm. Or if there isn't a term, can anyone suggest something we can use?

2 comments:

Word Imp said...

Funnily enough, you're asking just the right person. As a word imp, I know there is a word for the phenomenon of which you speak. I just have to figure out what it is. So... a spooky recurrence of a word or phrase that you had never come across in your life before could be a memrepory.

Jason said...

Hi Katie,

The phenomenon you're describing is called the "Baader-Meinhof" Phenomenon, and Wikipedia has a pretty good article about it.

Now - watch and see how many times you hear "Baader-Meinhof" in the next few days. ;)

-Jay