If someone asks you to make a difficult decision — like what to have for dinner — it might lead to rumination, or a long period of deep thought.

Use the noun rumination when there's thoughtful consideration going on. If your grandfather answers every question by saying, "Hmm. Let me think about that," he is a fan of rumination. It comes from the verb ruminate, which means "to think deeply," but also means "to chew the cud." Both words come from the Latin word ruminatus, which has the same meaning and which is rooted in rumen, or "gullet."

Definitions of rumination
  1. noun
    a calm, lengthy, intent consideration
    synonyms: contemplation, musing, reflection, reflexion, thoughtfulness
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    cogitation, study
    attentive consideration and meditation
    meditation, speculation
    continuous and profound contemplation or musing on a subject or series of subjects of a deep or abstruse nature
    (religion) contemplation of spiritual matters (usually on religious or philosophical subjects)
    introspection, self-contemplation, self-examination
    the contemplation of your own thoughts and desires and conduct
    contemplation of things past
    laborious cogitation
    self-analysis, soul-searching
    a penetrating examination of your own beliefs and motives
    examen, examination
    a detailed inspection of your conscience (as done daily by Jesuits)
    type of:
    the process of giving careful thought to something
  2. noun
    (of ruminants) chewing (the cud)
    “ruminants have remarkable powers of rumination
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    type of:
    chew, chewing, manduction, mastication
    biting and grinding food in your mouth so it becomes soft enough to swallow
  3. noun
    regurgitation of small amounts of food; seen in some infants after feeding
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    type of:
    disgorgement, emesis, regurgitation, vomit, vomiting
    the reflex act of ejecting the contents of the stomach through the mouth
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