Favourite Words: Stereognosis

Ok, so this post isn’t about a book. It’s not about a location. And it’s not about travel through time via language. Rather it’s about one of my favourite words. Ever.

Stereognosis. Stereooo-og-no-sis…I love how it feels to say it. But mostly I love what it means. I actually didn’t come across this word until my first year at university. But I instantly loved it. In case you’re wondering, it refers to the ability to perceive and recognize the form of an object in the absence of visual and auditory information. It is the word to describe how you find your house key in your handbag without actually looking. By using tactile information to provide cues about texture, size, spatial properties and temperature. It’s not just the ability to sense these different things independently. It’s the ability to put all that information together to recognise an object instinctively.

Granted, stereognosis does not often crop up in my day to day conversations. Though I have to admit it sneaks into my head a lot whenever I’m trying to work out if that card in my hand is my bank card or my photo ID.


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