This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Canada, which closed in 2021.
"But I .. just .. knew it a second ago!"

We've all been there — you try to say a word and you just can't spit it out. You might be able to describe it, you probably even know what it sounds like, but for some reason, it is as if the word has vanished from your vocabulary.

It's a phenomenon some researchers refer to as "tip of the tongue states" or "TOTS" and it occurs once a week for most people, increasing as we get older. In the video above by SciShow, host Hank Green attempts to explain why this happens and what you can do to keep it from happening over and over again.

Like computers, our brains are wired with clusters of neurons, some more complex than others. When a thought pops into into your head, these neurons get triggered and connect, which explains why you might know information about the forgotten word without being able to say it out loud.

Watch the video above to find out why you really aren't helping when you tell a friend the word that's on the tip of their tongue.

Also on HuffPost:

New Words For 2015

Before You Go

Popular in the Community

This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Canada. Certain site features have been disabled. If you have questions or concerns, please check our FAQ or contact