deja vu : Common Errors in English

About deja vu

In French déjà vu means literally “already seen” and usually refers to something excessively familiar. However the phrase, sans accent marks, was introduced into English mainly as a psychological term indicating the sensation one experiences when feeling that something has been experienced before when this is in fact not the case. If you feel strongly that you have been previously in a place where you know for a fact you have never before been, you are experiencing a sensation of deja vu. English usage is rapidly sliding back toward the French meaning, confusing listeners who expect the phrase to refer to a false sensation rather than a factual familiarity, as in “Congress is in session and talking about campaign finance reform, creating a sense of deja vu.” In this relatively new sense, the phrase has the same associations as the colloquial “same old, same old” (increasingly often misspelled “sameo, sameo” by illiterates).“It seems like it’s deja vu all over again,” is a redundantly mangled saying usually attributed to baseball player Yogi Berra. Over the ensuing decades clever writers would allude to this blunder in their prose by repeating the phrase “deja vu all over again,” assuming that their readers would catch the allusion and share a chuckle with them. Unfortunately, recently the phrase has been worn to a frazzle and become all but substituted for the original, so that not only has it become a very tired joke indeed—a whole generation has grown up thinking that the mangled version is the correct form of the expression. Give it a rest, folks!

deja vu Meaning(s)

  • (n) the experience of thinking that a new situation had occurred before

deja vu in News

  1. Can Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels Really Fix Tim Tebow?

    Guess what, Tim Tebow is finally fixing his mechanics this offseason! If that sounds a bit like deja vu for you, it's because we've heard this narrative before. In 2009, the Florida Gators hired quarterback coach Scot Loeffler to mentor Tebow  and help his throwing mechanics. The next spring, before the draft, Tebow famously worked out with current Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman to get his ...
    on June 12, 2013 Source: Bleacher Report

  2. Delta tunnel plan repeats mistakes of 1960s

    Re "Salty risks for Delta's flow" (Page A1, June 9): Delta diversion deja vu is distr
    on June 11, 2013 Source: The Sacramento Bee

  3. 'Remember Me' a mind-blowing head trip (video game review)

    Amnesia is one of the most resilient plot devices in video games, from early classics like “Deja Vu” to this year’s “BioShock Infinite.” It’s so common that, by now, forgetful game protagonists may outnumber their counterparts on daytime soap operas.
    on June 10, 2013 Source: Kingston Daily Freeman

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