Difference between Nostalgia and Nostalgic

Key Difference: The terms nostalgia and nostalgic are medically related terms used for homesickness. The difference between them is of the time periods, that is, nostalgia is related to the past, whereas, nostalgic is related to the present.

According to Vocabulary.com:

The noun nostalgia was invented by a Swiss doctor in the late 1600s. He put together the Greek nostos "homecoming" and algos "pain, distress" as a literal translation of the GermanHeimweh "homesickness." 

In medical science, nostalgia is a term associated with past memories. These memories comprises of the sweet memories of happiness. This is more common in old people. Psychologically; a person possesses nostalgia of those memories, which are very near to him.

According to medical treatments, it was a method, which, was found for the diagnosis of mercenary soldiers. It relates to the past, and the happenings, through which a person has undergone. The memories related to the place, incidence, and people who cannot be forgotten remain in thoughts, and those thoughts, are expressed via words. These are a sort of long thoughts and memories which the mind consists of. In nostalgia, the thoughts and the memories are remembered with the desire of wanting the same memory to happen again.

According to Vocabulary.com:

The adjective nostalgic is often used to describe someone who is homesick and wants to be back at home with family.

Nostalgic is a feeling of remembering the thoughts which a person cannot forget. In this, the person sometimes narrates the incidence in the manner that is in accordance to his desire. The person is said to be in the same world in which he wants to be. Psychologically, these people are unaware about the present status.

In nostalgic, a person misses all those things which are too precious to him, and which can’t be forgotten. 

These people are those who already indulge nostalgia. They carry those memories along with them for a long duration of time. The memories are recollected when there is any discomfort in the present. By looking at old photos, the person can feel nostalgic.

Comparison between Nostalgia and Nostalgic:





A longing for home or familiar surroundings; homesickness.

They are related to nostalgia.



Nostalgia is the good feeling you get when you remember things from your past. When you kind of sit back and smile and think to yourself, wow that was fun, or happy. 

Nostalgic is a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one's life, to one's home or homeland, or to one's family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time: a nostalgia for his college days.


It relates to the past memories.

It is related to the past, as well as to present memories.


Here the person dreams about the memories

Here he wants the desired dream to happen.

Present state

The person knows about the present situation.

The person is unaware about the present state.


The person does not dream here.

The person assumes something beyond his era or time.

Thoughts and Memories

Here recollection of thoughts which had happened in the past takes place.

Here the dreams of suppositions regarding any thing are dreamt.

Image Courtesy: fstoppers.com, itchyfruit.tumblr.com

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