Tip of the Tongue

Ever felt a word was right on the Tip of Your Tongue, but just couldn't think of it? It's a strange, frustrating experience across cultures - and all over the world. It's an experience that can be artificially induced. The tip-of-the-tongue freeze occurs when the mind "blocks" at recalling a specific (and ordinarily-known) word. The condition can be evoked by reading the eight definitions below. Chances are you will block (at least temporarily) on several of them.

1) metal or metal-tipped spear used in contests of distance throwing

2) inscription on a tomb

3) incombustible, chemical-resistant, material used for fireproofing

4) navigational instrument used for measuring the angular elevation of the sun or a star above the horizon

5) tough, elastic tissue forming part of the skeleton

6) heavy, broad-bladed knife or hatchet used especially by butchers

7) essential living matter of all plant and animal cells

8) crystalline sugar occurring naturally in fruits, honey, etc.

Eight definitions: 1) javelin, 2) epitaph, 3) asbestos, 4) sextant, 5) cartilage, 6) cleaver, 7) protoplasm, 8) fructose (also glucose, levulose, dextrose).

Excerpted from: The Seven Sins of Memory by Daniel L. Schacter

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