from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Variant of synesthesia.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A neurological or psychological phenomenon whereby a particular sensory stimulus triggers a second kind of sensation.
  • n. The association of one sensory perception with, or description of it in terms of, another, unlike, perception that is not experienced at the same time.
  • n. A literary or artistic device whereby one kind of sensation is described in the terms of another.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a sensation that normally occurs in one sense modality occurs when another modality is stimulated


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek σύν (sun, "with") + αἴσθησις (aisthēsis, "sensation"), modeled after anaesthesia.



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  • As far as I can tell, this is the British spelling, and synesthesia is the American variant.

    I get very strong colours for numbers, letters, and words, and consistent personality associations with numbers and letters, as well. Synaesthesia is much of what makes words so interesting to me.

    January 30, 2012

  • Skipvia's comment of about a year ago: are you a pianist? I practically never meet anybody else who can improvise. It's most of what I do at the piano, because I am inherently lazy...I do not have synaesthesia, but I do have absolute pitch, which means each of the twelve tones has a unique sound to me, a sound which is often very vaguely associated with an emotion, or occastionally a colour or vowel sound. I've never been able to get at them clearly enough to work out a table of all them, and they change from time to time. I've also never been able to figure out if this is why I can improvise so easily. But it is incredibly satisfying to be able to transfer my emotions directly to my fingers.

    June 24, 2009

  • An interesting book, that, while fiction, talks about synaesthesia, is The Name Of This Book Is Secret. I liked it al ot and found the extreme synaesthesia interesting.

    June 24, 2009

  • I get word-color ,sound-color, and number-color synaesthesia pretty strongly. I find the topic very interesting.

    fer_k has it as well, just based on a comment of theirs I read on gloaming

    June 24, 2009

  • Ha ha ha!! Just saw plethora's linked page... :)

    Edit: reesetee's link ain't half bad either.

    June 24, 2009

  • Yum!

    June 7, 2009

  • Synaesthesia Emergency.

    November 24, 2008

  • try reading _blue cats and chartreuse kittens_ by pat duffy--a synesthete. Not too technical, but definitely research-based.

    October 26, 2008


    synaesthesia forum. all the comment examples have been discussed there.

    August 5, 2008

  • I used to experience strong pitch-color synaesthesia, but it's gotten weaker over the years, to the point where it's now closer to timbre-color synaesthesia. It's a pity - I'm convinced synaesthesia augments talent.

    July 15, 2008

  • Yes, I see - between your example and weirdnet's eloquent definition.

    June 13, 2008

  • When I think of a day of the week, I see an ellipse that is long and narrow. Monday is on the outside right rim. Then the rest of the weekdays come one after the other, going around the outside of the ellipse to the left, until you get to Saturday and Sunday which are on the inside rim, closest to me (my mind's eye). The weekend gets the entire "inside" rim line.

    So, all day today, Friday, when I think of what day it is (in relation to yesterday or tomorrow) I'll picture the word "Friday" and it will be on the extreme left "point" of the ellipse.


    June 13, 2008

  • 43 versus 40, this spelling is still winning.

    June 13, 2008

  • I'm not synaesthetic, but I have several strong associations with certain numbers, letters, and musical keys. For example:

    - I associate the number five with the color red, and with aggressive, businesslike personalities.

    - I associate the letter "t" with youth and shyness.

    - I associate the key of E with the color green, and with pine forests.

    I think it'd be fun to actually see the number five in red, but in lieu of that, I'm happy with my associations.

    April 20, 2008

  • When I am improvising (and not simply playing from muscle memory), I "see" landscapes with different configurations and textures. Going in a certain direction causes me to play one way, going in another direction results in something different. I can "hear" what it will sound like before I go there. It sometimes takes me while to reach that zone where I perceive landscapes. On a good night, I get there very quickly.

    Musicians are strange...

    April 20, 2008

  • Really, sarra? Hmm... I'd like to read that, if you can find it easily. Thanks!

    April 20, 2008

  • I think I remember reading a term, or at the very least a corroboration of your experience, c_b. I can attempt to look it up if you so fancy.

    I've a comparison table of composers' colour–note/key relations too, somewhere. Everyone's synæsthesias are, delightfully, different.

    April 20, 2008

  • Plethora: Yes, I never knew it was odd until I read an article about it being some kind of phenomenon with some people... and of course for my version (if it is such a thing), there isn't even a word.

    April 20, 2008

  • C_b, I think I have a similar thing. I always assumed it was normal...

    The mention of this word irritates me, purely because it reminds me of year 11 English and Girl with a Pearl Earring. Baaaad memories.

    April 19, 2008

  • Other composers who were or were possibly synæsthesic: Olivier Messiaen, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (Mr Flight-of-the-Bumble-Bee), Alexander Scriabin (who included a "colour organ" in one of his pieces), György Ligeti, Jean Sibelius

    April 19, 2008

  • He saw red, but he thought five / He was pleased to find his road trip was enhanced by number-color synesthesia: / 'My trusty Rosinante bounds along the road very well, leaving the friendly aroma of donuts and chicken tenders hanging in the desert air.'

    --The Books, "An Animated Description of Mr. Maps"

    February 10, 2008

  • See also synesthesia.

    I'm convinced I have some warped version of this in which inanimate objects, even concepts like "the number 5," have distinctly defined personality traits.

    There was an article about synesthesia a few years ago in Smithsonian magazine (I think...).

    October 8, 2007

  • Amazing that colors appear not just as shades, but as defined shapes. Fascinating.

    October 8, 2007

  • Yeah for instance I see blue when I hear middle C and other colors for pitch. Pitch and color are related in the way the brain interprets them as signals. Sometimes my synesthesia will even overlap on my visual plane and not just be restricted to the minds eye. Today in my Latin course we were learning about a new declension and a green polygon and a red circle kept surfacing in front of me.

    October 6, 2007

  • You do, Orbital? This whole concept fascinates me.

    October 6, 2007

  • Like Mr. S, Nabokov, Daniel Tammet, or Franz Liszt, I see colors when listening to music, forming ideas, or playing with numbers.

    October 6, 2007