Difference Between Nostalgia and Reminisce

Key Difference – Nostalgia vs Reminisce

Nostalgia and reminisce are two words between which a key difference can be identified although both refer to remembering the past. Before we comprehend the difference between the two words, let us focus on the definitions. Nostalgia refers to a longing for the past or even homesickness. We all feel nostalgic sometimes as we begin to remember a particular event, memory or a person that we were once fond of. Reminisce, on the other hand, refers to thinking or talking about the past. The key difference between the two words is that while nostalgia is a longing for the past, reminisce is merely a recollection of the past. Here it is also important to highlight that while nostalgia is a noun, reminisce is a verb.

What is Nostalgia?

Imagine you are in a foreign land and all of a sudden you are engulfed by this overwhelming homesickness. You remember the familiar surroundings, your home, your loved ones, the streets and boutiques, and you feel a deep sense of longing. This is nostalgia. Nostalgia can be defined as a longing for the happy times of the past.  The word nostalgia is a noun. The adjective is nostalgic.

Feelings of nostalgia arise not only when we feel homesick, but also when we long for a beautiful memory of the past or even when we remember someone fondly. This is a bittersweet memory. For example, most of us feel nostalgic when we recall the beautiful memories of our childhood and our school friends. We feel a deep sense of yearning for the past. This feeling can be understood as nostalgia.

Difference Between Nostalgia and Reminisce

We feel nostalgic when we remember the past, our home, familiar surroundings, etc.

What is to Reminisce?

Reminisce is when we think or talk about the past. Unlike nostalgia, reminisce is a verb. It is an act of remembering or recalling the events of the past. Reminisce is not a yearning, but merely a recollection. But the connection between nostalgia and reminisce is that when we reminisce the events of the past, it can make up feel nostalgic.

For example, a person can reminisce his days as an undergraduate. He will remember how he spent his time with his friends, how they went for lectures, the events that they had, the wonderful things that happened to them, the funny stories, the crushes they had and all sorts of other things. Remembering all these events, is reminiscing. But when these memories create a yearning in the person where he feels happy that he made all these memories but sad because they are in the past, this is nostalgia.

As you can see nostalgia and reminisce are two different words although they are very much connected to one another. This difference can be summarized as follows.

Key Difference - Nostalgia vs Reminisce

A person can reminisce his days as an undergraduate.

What is the difference between Nostalgia and Reminisce?

Definitions of Nostalgia and Reminisce:

Nostalgia: Nostalgia refers to a longing for the past or even homesickness.

Reminisce: Reminisce refers to thinking or talking about the past.

Characteristics of Nostalgia and Reminisce:

Parts of speech:

Nostalgia: Nostalgia is a noun.

Reminisce: Reminisce is a verb.


Nostalgia: Nostalgia is a form of longing.

Reminisce: Reminisce is a recollection.


Image Courtesy:

1. Small cottage in Barton – geograph.org.uk – 1229277 By Philip Halling [CC BY-SA 2.o], via Wikimedia Commons

2. Campus Life sm By Amariotti [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons