jamais vu

Use the term jamais vu when something happens which seems like it should be familiar but isn't. Some medical conditions can cause a sense of jamais vu in patients.

Someone who doesn't recognize quite ordinary or familiar things — or people — suffers from a sense of jamais vu. You're most likely to hear about jamais vu from a psychologist or student of psychology, since researchers have observed people with epilepsy, amnesia, and other conditions suffer from an eerie feeling that they should recognize something that seems brand new to them. The opposite of jamais vu is déjà vu, the vivid sense you've experienced something before.

Definitions of jamais vu
  1. noun
    the experience of being unfamiliar with a person or situation that is actually very familiar; associated with certain types of epilepsy
    see moresee less
    type of:
    confusedness, confusion, disarray, mental confusion, muddiness
    a mental state characterized by a lack of clear and orderly thought and behavior
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week