What is it called when you can “taste” a word or “see” a sound?

Every so often, an oddball phrase or sentence trends on Google search, such as: “Can blind people see the taste of cinnamon toast crunch?”

This is a fascinating, serious question disguised in buffoonery. A more apropos question seems to be: Is it possible to “see” the taste of a cereal? Or better yet: Is it possible to see a taste? Or taste a word?

This answer is yes, sort of. An involuntary neurological condition called synesthesia, which is also spelled synaesthesia, describes a version of this experience. A synesthete is someone who automatically activates a second sensory pathway once a first is stimulated. The word derives from two Greek words that mean “together” and “sensation.”

A common form of this condition has to do with letters and numbers. It is called color-graphemic synesthesia. This is how it works: A synesthete consistently ”sees” letters or numbers as a specific color. For some, this perception happens in their mind’s eye, while for others, it is projected externally.

When a writer describes one sense by using words that describe a different sense, “the trumpet solo soundslike  lime green jello,” for example, this is also known as synesthesia, but it is in fact a figure of speech, or a trope. Let’s return to the brain disorder.

There are over sixty types of synesthesia and it seems to run in families. Also, a number of external stimuli can cause the condition, such as blindness, a stroke, or — no surprise here —psychedelic drugs.

So, what does this have to do with cinnamon toast crunch? Well, in one of the condition’s rarest forms, gustatory synesthesia, words can actually evoke tastes, seemingly making it possible to taste a word.

Now that you’ve learned a word for this unusual mental experience, what do you call the state when you are neither completely asleep nor completely awake? We have an answer for you, here.


  1. Greg -  September 4, 2015 - 8:08 am

    I think it’s a bit disingenuous to describe “tasting sounds” or “hearing colors” as a brain -disorder-. That term is certainly appropriate when the “condition” actually affects a person’s external life, especially relationships with others. If someone converts “hearing Mozart” into “must run towards the nearest living thing and kill it” … that’s a disorder.

    Thinking the number 3 is green… how exactly does that affect any other person? Or even the person with the “disorder”? It’s not a disorder – he’s just a little different. And some might say it adds creativity and imagination.

    Having a name for it, i.e. “synesthesia”… is fine. I’m sure not everyone experiences it. But I’m also sure 90% of those who do don’t even realize it or think nothing of it, and 99.999% see no real difference in their lives as a result of it. But tell me I have a “disorder” just because I sense something you don’t… and I’ll punch ya in the face. I just can’t stand the smell of the word “disorder.”

    • qwerty -  July 19, 2016 - 8:17 pm

      a disorder is whenever something is not “normal”

  2. Cindy -  July 22, 2015 - 8:11 pm

    I believe Baylor University did a study on this. The reason I found out I was a synesthete is because I asked the computer why I saw a year as an oval. Turns out, no matter what type of synesthete you are, many or most will see a year as an oval. Either in front of you or going around your body. (per the University study) Interesting!

    My particular type of synesthesia is that I see my feelings as shapes and colors. Not everyday feeling….but just the more emotional ones. Love, hate, anger, nostalgia… They’re pretty basic too. A mean, hard person will be a dark color with straight hard angles. Love or happiness will be a lighter color with rounded edges. But any object with an emotional attachment for me can be a shape. Italy, for instance, has a shape for me since I visited it years ago. So can my kindergarten experience.

    I kind of wish I could taste sounds like other people!

    • Margaret -  November 18, 2015 - 2:10 pm

      Interesting thought about seeing the year as an oval! I’ve always seen it like a clock face, but running counterclockwise–with September at the nine o’clock position, December at 6, January at 5, and June at 1. I know that makes summer the longest stretch across the clock, but since I’ve been seeing it this way since I was a very young child, it makes sense (at least to me) that the year started with September, and the summer was longer than three months would normally be.

  3. cc -  January 8, 2015 - 9:00 pm

    I can taste music.

  4. Meg -  October 6, 2014 - 7:24 pm

    I was talking to someone on the bus and we were talking about space and time and stuff like that and I mentioned how, last year we had to convert the entire lifespan of earth into a clock. And I asked what he thought about when thinking about “a long lime”. He went on to say all of these things he knew and how long things are in relation to human existence, whereas I said that I think of a really small “dot” in the middle of a void. I have been questioning my thoughts ever since. I already knew I had synesthesia (numbers and weekdays–>color) before that, but now I am wondering if I have any other forms of it. Any ideas?

  5. Lim Kang Hee -  August 18, 2014 - 4:26 pm

    Thats so cool. I dont know if i have ith tho.. i can taste places when i eat certain foods. If i eat a chocolate chip cookie, and its homemade, it tastes like their house. Sometimes i cant eat a certain food because their house doesnt taste the best. Its like an overwhelming taste. I used to tell my mom that i couldnt eat food from this one persons house because their house tasted bad. Then she told me i was crazy:)

  6. AQ -  August 6, 2014 - 11:33 pm

    I can feel sounds.

    • Kim -  November 18, 2014 - 10:10 am

      I think I have this to a limited degree. I can ¨taste¨ certain musical sounds. Also, I have an affinity for even numbers. I don’t like odd numbers. The absolute BEST number is ¨4.¨ Multiples of 4 are good too, especially numbers like 16 whose square root is 4. 8 and 12 are 0K, as is 20, 24, an 28. But when we get to 32 we’re back to the really good stuff again! I kind of like 64 also, but nothing compares to good old ¨4¨. LOL

    • laila -  May 10, 2016 - 9:40 am

      I can hear feelings, and by feelings I mean when I touch things I hear sounds. Its hard coz my school uniform blouse sounds terrible… but overall its fabulous.

  7. Hannah -  May 22, 2014 - 4:31 pm

    @Anna Lynn I see the names as
    Aiden – light blue
    Micheal – green next to sand
    Ophelia – dark red. Not intimidatingly, just distinctly
    Annie – vintage-dress-red
    Samantha – yellow

  8. Hannah -  May 22, 2014 - 4:16 pm

    Ikr? I literally thought everyone could! Now I know when ever I talked to someone and said something like… “Okay so you know how H’s are green?” They would brush it off in confusion. I see colors for most numbers and letters. Also, they have genders. 5 is a girl, so is 6,9,2.the boys are 0,1,4,7,8. This is probably not as normal but I see 3 as unisex. Also, I can like feel a personality for each. Seriously! 1 is a shy little boy who does have any friends. 2 is a happy-go-lucky girl with sunshine in her pocket pretty much. 3 is a witty but reserved he/she. 4 is a goofy and kooky go-getter while 5 is a snappy sarcastic girl with attitude. It goes on and on.

    Maybe this means I just have an elaborate imagination? I am a writer so making personalities easily is definitely a plus, but does anyone else get these kind of connections?

    • Amber -  June 11, 2014 - 9:25 pm

      I thought everyone else could do this stuff too. I don’t really see numbers like that (except that 6 is red and male to me) but I do this with letters. I even have an old notebook of how I portray every letter, upper and lowercase (I’ve had this all my life). Although I can’t ‘taste’ or ‘smell’ words or letters, I can taste, smell, feel, ect. different songs. It’s the weirdest thing and I wonder if anyone else can do this with songs too?

    • Adam -  June 21, 2014 - 5:01 pm

      That’s beautiful… Reading your interpretation for each number, it’s amazingly logical to me. Probably just because I’m an artist. I remember years back in music class when we listened to notes or chords and assigned colors to each, and most note colors resonated with the majority of us.

      All these comments… Wow. I can relate to some of the stuff being said here. I suddenly got this crazy idea that maybe everyone was like this once before we got blunted/damaged by conditioning… or maybe that’s just because I wish I had a case of synesthesia and want to excuse myself lol.

      • Adam -  June 22, 2014 - 2:23 pm

        correction: it was for intervals, not notes

    • Gillian -  October 6, 2015 - 7:55 pm

      Oh my gosh! I do the exact same thing with numbers! 1 is exactly the way you described it for me. I see 2,3,and 6 as female, and 1,4,5,7,8,9 as male. I also get the unisex thing; I think I experience the same thing with ten. But really it is just so cool to know I’m not the only one.

  9. Comcifer -  February 12, 2014 - 11:32 pm

    Is there a Synesthete here to help me figure out what the word “turd” tastes like?

    And how about combinations of words like “Gemstone Poop,” or “Turd Government” or maybe “Grand Scum”?

    • sum-gai -  June 19, 2014 - 9:41 pm

      I haven’t belly laughed that good in a while, friend.

  10. Kat Rina -  February 8, 2014 - 2:27 pm

    Holy Crap! I thought every one was like that. I see all of the letters, numbers, months, etc. as colors. The numbers 1-9 are colors and the numbers after that usually take the color of the second number. For example 5 is yellow so 15 is yellow. How do people not see things like this????? What do people see when they hear numbers? Do they just see them all as a black or something? I cant wrap my brain around that.

    • Ashlyn -  April 6, 2014 - 4:23 pm

      Me either! I have synesthesia too! And cor the record, this article makes it seem like it is a disease and is a weird, bad thing when it is so amazing! Just sayin’

  11. Sara Bee -  January 31, 2014 - 8:42 am

    I think I kind of have this with numbers? Whenever I’m doing math I always see the numbers in my head as different colours and “doing” different things. Like 54 is always pink and yellow and… I don’t know I hate the number because the 5 makes me feel intimidated but only in that number. Like 154 is completely different, the 5 and 4 are still pink and yellow but there’s no negative connotation. With the exception of 5, I usually see odd numbers as “cooler” numbers and evens as “warmer”. To the point where when I was younger, the cooler colour put me off and I absolutely HATED odd numbers. I remember getting upset because I was born on the 21st of August on a even-numbered year. So close.
    I still see colours with numbers and get certain connotations, but as I’ve grown older (obviously) they don’t impact me so dramatically anymore. I’ve just kind of gotten used to it, haha.

  12. Jim -  September 13, 2013 - 11:22 pm

    My son had the condition known as color-graphemic synesthesia. We did not find this out until he went to the Art Institute International in San Francisco. One day in class his instructor was explaining how certain people have a condition that causes them to perceive a distinct color when looking at a particular letter of the alphabet. He raised his hand and asked the question… “Doesn’t everyone?” Since he had the condition from birth he assumed it was the norm and never really questioned it or discussed it with anyone since it was just the way it was for him. I remember once we were in a parking lot and I pointed out a gorgeous Dodge Viper. James told me it was an “S”. I argued with him that I was sure it was a “Viper” and there were no “S” Models of this car. They are all just Vipers. After we went back and forth a bit he finally explained in a rather exasperated tone “No Dad! The Viper is the color “S”! He was telling me that the deep purple color of the Viper is the color that associates with the letter “S”. When he joined the army and shared his color association with his team they did believe him. So they split up various letters of the alphabet and would test him at random times by asking him what color a particular letter was. After consistently answering the same color repeatedly for the letters they each were responsible for they finally believed his story. What a fascinating thing it must have been for him to “see” a color when viewing a letter! Sadly he was killed in Afghanistan in March of this year. We miss his quirky ways and all of his unique abilities. We will never forget the remarkable young man with the colored alphabet.

  13. Crazy person -  June 14, 2013 - 1:07 pm

    Every time I smell a strong smell, I taste it, too.


    • Meg -  October 6, 2014 - 6:46 pm

      That’s normal. At least you don’t confuse February 9th with September 2nd because they are the same color (as in the number versions of the dates). And you don’t have a shirt that says Monday on it in pink when your mind says it should be yellow. And you don’t always think that september is the 8th month because 8 and September are the same color. And you also don’t have to worry about not remembering your library card number because most of the numbers in it, are warm colors. Those are just some of the annoying things. But overall Synesthesia is not actually bad. It’s helpful.

  14. Mantha -  April 16, 2013 - 5:10 pm

    Justin, I totally do too, it’s kind of cool once you think about it, though… :D

  15. (o_o') -  March 22, 2013 - 6:20 pm

    I was eighteen when my world fell apart due to this whole…whatever this is entered my consciousness.Until then, I had no idea everyone didn’t see, taste, feel thought…I was in a philosphy class and students were discussing thought and the senses when a statement made me burst into laughter. I thought it was a joke only to find it was statement which everyone else took for grantedL ‘we cant see or hear or feel or taste thoughts’.

    Ten years on I’m still plagued by this whole deal…how the *bleep* does anyone think without tasting, seeing, hearing thoughts? I cant imagine a world in which tuesday is not pastel green anyone more than I can imagine a world without the world…I cant imagine at all, infact; a world without experiencing thought visually or through the senses is death, it isnt even blackness because blackness is experienced through the senses…I just dont understand…

    I still cannot believe anyone doesn’t think how I do because I cant understand or imagine or experience or know that…if thought is not projected visually and movable with flavours and textures and temperatures etc what is it? We don’t and cant know or understand anything without or aside from our senses. I just don’t get it…to not think through seeing (especially) is to not think…try not thinking without simply thinking about not thinking….that is what asking me to think without seeing or whatever is like…

    If someone can make me know how to understand or experience whatever it is people who say they dont see thoughts etc it would change my entire life, it would be like meeting god or discovering the world in cube shaped and standing on the edge of it or something…it (literally) beyond comprehension as far as I see it…and I do see it…how can I not!? That’s my whole question!

    I feel like part of The Truman Show and the whole of humanity is playing a massive joke on me and have since I was 18…its not funny anymore, guys. Give it up and admit you see thoughts or feel them or hear them etc…you must, otherwise why do people say they hear themselves when they’r thinking? What do they mean if they dont actually hear themselves? why say it?

    I so want to understand this! Please!

  16. Edgar Mice Burrows -  January 13, 2013 - 11:58 pm

    Re Marie’s post above (and probably earlier ones by others):

    I believe there are different degrees of synasthesia. As others have suggested, I also believe that synasthesia is not a peculiar condition, but one that is shared by the majority of humans.

    I don’t think it shows the same way for everybody, though. One person find it common to smell a color, another might see a sound. And so on.

    Could it be that all humans are capable of synasthesia? That the different abilities of individuals are not evidence that synasthesia is unusual, but that humans have unconsciously found ways to ignore it and favor other sensory abilities?

    I think it could. Music and most other forms of vibration that are usually sensed with my ears and skin (as opposed to sight and smell) are perpetually present and most often change the taste in my mouth. It’s difficult for me to eat something and enjoy it as it ought to be when there is music playing, or when I ride on the railroad and feel the vibrations of the wheels on the rails, etc.
    But when I sit back in silence, no problem. Unless heartbeats also cause it. But how would I know…?

    The entire subject boggles my mind.

  17. Crazy person -  January 9, 2013 - 3:06 pm

    If you say the name of a food, what would they taste? The food mentioned?

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  19. Marie -  November 18, 2012 - 6:15 pm

    I wonder if there are different degrees of synesthesia? I read A Mango Shaped Space and the main character had trouble with math because her senses were getting in the way. Reading, too. The colors were overwhelming. I definitely associate letters and numbers with colors and sometimes personalities, but that doesn’t make it hard for me to read or do math. Maybe there are some versions of the “disorder” that are stronger than others.

    • Meg -  October 6, 2014 - 6:53 pm

      Yeah. I think so. I think that since she has Projected Synesthesia that it makes it harder for her because she literally sees the colors rather then them being in her head. For me the colors are in my head, so I read and do math perfectly normal. When you don’t actually see the colors like she does then it is associative synesthesia (I think).

  20. Pumpkin Cupcake | -  October 18, 2012 - 5:48 pm

    [...] note…I have synesthesia and yeah, I really love the hell out of pumpkin [...]

  21. Niji is Rainbow -  September 9, 2012 - 11:56 am

    Its interesting to read this article (semi-skimmed) and read some of the posts by people.

    I clicked on this article because I visual my words and I associate my emotions to some words or associate particular words to an emotions (often, years before, I used to get corrected a lot by my best friend who tells me my use of vocabulary is wrong). But its interesting because it also means I infuse the sound of certain words to certain emotions. Like I can also taste some words or see colours to certain words but cannot describe it to anyone else how. I thought this article could clarify that up. It sort of did.

    I’ll give another example. Danny Elfman, the composer, sees colours whenever Tim Burton describes a scene for which Elfman should write the score. The colours Elfman associates with certain moods or emotions too. That was from an interview I saw years ago.

    Also, I think it’s interesting to note that some people find this hard (or are skeptics) or find it surprising to believe (presumably because they’ve been doing it sub-consciously).

    Anyways, thanks for the share.

  22. Lily -  June 22, 2012 - 2:04 pm

    This is cool… I do it with numbers and colors and foods. For example, one is a red number, and cherry pie is a purple food. Maybe everyone has a trace of this?

    • Meg -  October 6, 2014 - 6:56 pm

      I think that in a way, we all do have some form of it. My mom (who I don’t think has synesthesia) said that she didn’t know why but the ice cream that we had gotten tasted “blue”.

  23. Lady J -  April 16, 2012 - 4:57 pm

    This is really interesting. I never really thought about it before I learned about it, but it brings up a really interesting argument about how different people perceive the world. Do different people taste food the same way? Do we see colors the same as others? Do we remember things the same way?
    It kinda makes me wanna steal inside someone else’s brain just to see. Too bad that’s not possible.

    I sometimes hear colors when listening songs. I can sometimes “taste” colors, but it’s more like feeling a color with my tongue. But more prominently I see letters and numbers as colors.
    Aiden – yellow, mostly, with some green and pink
    Micheal – a lighter red with green and orange
    Ophelia – light, light tan with pink and orange
    Annie – yellow and pink
    Samantha – Green, yellow, and pink
    O’s are kind of weird, but most letters have prominent colors.

    I used to think everyone saw the world the same. But now I wonder…




    I found a typo!

  26. Kryss -  February 1, 2012 - 1:36 pm

    @Anna Lynn i know what you mean, sort of. for me those names would be
    Aiden – bright green
    Micheal – pastel pink
    Ophelia – baby blue
    Annie – pink
    Samantha – yellow
    also, sometimes names have numbers for me too, like Melissa is 17 and Carter is 8.

    P.S. @Like, Totally this may not be true, but i was just thinking-you may associate triangles with orange because of traffic cones, circles with yellow because of the sun, and it may be that when you first learned the letter A it was written in red, since red is a bight, vibrant colour and is frequently used in kindergarten classrooms, and that image subconsciously stuck with you. Just a thought, mind you; I’m not saying this is the real reason.

  27. Ebony -  January 31, 2012 - 5:51 pm

    i think everyone has this, at least a bit. i tend to associate certain sounds with unique shapes, movements and colours, sometimes i even try to draw them, even though im not a very good artist. it works both ways, in that i can also make sounds/names to go with abstract art that i see. its fun. it’s a little weird to have it presented as an unusual mental ability, because it’s so natural to me and i don’t think i’ve ever met anyone that cant do it, at least a bit.

    @charolette 1) i don’t think they said “disorder”, i believe they said “condition” which, to be fair, sounds almost as bad. 2) im curious, what colour are those two words, to you? (for me i think “disorder” is a smuged gray and dark-gray mixture, and it…hm, it feels like the first sylable is moving quickly away from me, then the last two syllable come back and twist around themselves. more of a movement that a real shape actually. “condition” is a sort of grass green to begin with, and it looks like the curve of a ball that’s thrown straight forward, then starts to dip. the syllable that sounds like “dish” is two branches from that line shooting up and down, both curling back toward the beginning, they are a sort of yellowy-gray. after that the line continues in a dark blue and pushes forward, but it doesn’t really move, it turns into just curls and spirals, like it’s a gust of wind meeting an equally strong gust of wind blowing in the opposite direction. again, it feels more like movement than a solid shape.)

  28. zooey -  November 20, 2011 - 10:49 am

    Thats…wow….I have the same thing, but I just never really thought about it-thought everyone else has it too. I do that all the time, but I can’t actually recall anything’s color or taste, I just feel it when it comes. By the way, you do taste metal = blood is made of iron, if you’ve ever gotten cut in your mouth

    • Denise Williamson -  June 19, 2014 - 6:50 pm

      Omg me too!!! What is it called?! I really need to know!!!!!!!

  29. Pinki -  September 24, 2011 - 7:47 pm

    @Like, Totally: Since they have a certain smell, you can get a hint of how they might taste like. Though, I don’t know why people would ever taste them in their right minds….unless you’re a baby :)
    Btw, nice name. It kinda has it’s own personality. ;]

  30. Like, Totally -  September 22, 2011 - 9:02 pm

    I just realized something else that may somehow be related? idk, I’m pretty sure I’m just talking nonsensicaly now, but you know how people know the taste of something, like cardboard or metal? yet we technacaly have never eaten/tasted it?

    • Denise Williamson -  June 19, 2014 - 6:45 pm

      Omg!!! I can see something anything really and I have never tasted it but I can taste it in my mouth. I dont understand it like if I see a random object like cardboard I can taste it!!!! Do you know what this is? I keep searching and the only thing coming up is Synesthesia. But synesthesia sounds different from what I have

      • Meg -  October 6, 2014 - 7:02 pm

        I would think that it’s normal. Things usually taste kind of like how they smell. Take lavender, for example.

  31. Like, Totally -  September 22, 2011 - 8:52 pm

    I learned about this a long time ago, and I’m still slightly jealous, that must be awesome to have! I thought it was regular to associate some things with colors and stuff. I think all humans have a bit of instinct to associate colors, tastes, sounds and smells to things and the people with full-on syntheshia just have a highly amplified version? or something like that. I’ve always associated “A” with red,circles with yellow, triangles with orange, and quite a lot of other things.. I think its not exactly a “Disorder” but more like your mind.. like.. ergh I can’t explain correctly..

  32. Anna Lynn -  September 3, 2011 - 12:30 am

    I doubt I have anything like that but I associate names with colors and the names I like, I associate with colors I like.

    Aiden – pink
    Micheal – light blue
    Ophelia – orange
    Annie – red
    Samantha – purple

    but not individual letters. Never.

  33. Kyra -  August 25, 2011 - 6:49 pm

    I’ve always thought this was so cool, since I read the book “A Mango-Shaped Space” by Wendy Mass. It’s about a middle-school girl who has synesthesia and finally lets people know she sees colors after a couple “problems” occur. It is actually a really sweet book which brought tears to my eyes.
    This amazing ability sounds like a very blazing world of wonderful things, but it also must be hard to learn other languages, and/or concentrate on a conversation during dinner(not everyone has the same kind). But, i’m not an expert.
    So does anyone know what color my name is???? Sometimes i wanna believe i have it because to me, my name is: K-RED Y-YELLOW R-almost a DARK RED BROWN A-also RED. Everyone with this is truly something special:)

    • Hannah -  May 22, 2014 - 4:26 pm

      Individually? K-Hard green Y-Yellow R-cherry red A- red again but more relaxed and dark

      As a whole, Kyra makes me think of an orange brown. I also get personalities from stuff and Kyra to me is K- Calm but determined Y- silly but safe R- kinda living on the edge letter who loved parties A- smart and compassionate.

      As a whole, kyra is a social and energetic name for a person who knows what she is doing and doesn’t let people tell her otherwise

  34. Maria -  July 31, 2011 - 4:53 am

    Do you guys think that you can consciously make an effort to develop this “disorder” over time? It seems like such an amazing skill to have – I’m jealous!

    @Ken – That is incredible! Wow, it must be so fun! :)

  35. Ember -  July 30, 2011 - 2:39 pm

    Interesting! I often feel like I can see what color songs or voices are. Some songs are multicolored, though I tend to prefer singular-colored ones. For example, Fireflies by Owl City is distinctly yellow. I didn’t know there was a name for that until now. Cool article.

  36. SK -  June 11, 2011 - 4:54 am

    @aqilah I guess so. I can, uh, ‘see’ colors in both English alphabets and Hangul (Korean). The colors are the same if they have the same sound.
    I didn’t know this was abnormal until I told this to my friend and she told me that I’m weird…

  37. Anita -  June 7, 2011 - 8:24 pm

    I might have something like this, but for me it is olfactory/visual. I can smell things, like a perfume or a soap, and see a vision in my head of something totally unrelated. I once opened a bottle of cooking oil and smelled it, and I saw a sandy beach. Another time I smelled rain on concrete and I saw a cottage with stone steps that I somehow knew was in Ireland.

  38. Marsh -  June 7, 2011 - 4:58 am

    Can this condition change with time? I guess as a kid I did associate words with certain images (which could be very different from the actual meaning) but not any more.. I’m not even sure if that counted as synaesthesia or not.. but I would love to have such an interesting “disorder”, if that’s what you think it is :)

  39. aqilah -  April 26, 2011 - 11:35 pm

    mind telling me if this is the same case for every other language around the world?

  40. Natalie -  April 9, 2011 - 4:12 pm

    This is interesting. When I was younger, I would always say, “This room tastes like the smell of gramma!” Not until this moment did I realize I was using synaethesia.

  41. Karen -  April 5, 2011 - 1:27 pm

    Synthesia is so cool!
    I would love to be able to see colours when I heard certain words or letters. Tasting things would be a little less fun if I didn’t like what I was tasting.
    It’s so interesting how the brain can connect the senses like that.

  42. Wendy -  March 30, 2011 - 12:19 am

    everytime I say Phillip, since I was little, I have an iron taste in my mouth. I don’t remember ever knowing a Phillip. … I can smell things or associate smell and taste. Like the smell of skunks make me taste Wendy’s French fries. When I smell a skunk I want those French fries.

  43. Cassy -  January 30, 2011 - 9:43 am

    I have gustatory synethesia. I didn’t know the name of it though so I looked it up. Thanks for the help :D

  44. Edmund -  January 23, 2011 - 8:10 am

    no, youre all WRONG we can all taste certain words if a literary passage leads us to do so. In the same way descriptions are often strengthened by IMAGERY which makes us see the scene in our mind. but theres a word specific to tasting a word, what is it???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  45. windy -  January 15, 2011 - 6:50 pm

    to be able to experience it

  46. windy -  January 15, 2011 - 6:49 pm

    wow so interesting…people who have synesthesia are so lucky

  47. Tammy D -  December 25, 2010 - 11:33 am

    Chartreuse Cats and Blue Kittens. It’s a book about synesthesia. Or maybe it’s Blue Cats and Chartreuse Kittens. I’m not sure, but it’s a very interesting book. I forgot the name of the author.

  48. Odyseuss -  November 30, 2010 - 7:21 am

    Blind people are Ninja

  49. Céline -  November 29, 2010 - 1:25 pm

    I’ve always associated words, letters and numbers with colours, same with the days and months (Monday being blue, June being green, etc.). Even music comes in colour.
    It gets tricky when trying to think about the meaning of a word, or a name. For example, the word Argentina has always been purple, but the country itself is of an orangy golden shade.

    I read about synesthesia a few months prior to reading this article, and it had me quite surprised. I thought it was a normal thing. The article also stated it was a genetic condition, and indeed, when I asked my family about it, I got confused frowns from my mother and brothers, but my father immediately started to sum up what colours his numbers and letters are.

  50. Mark -  November 27, 2010 - 7:45 pm

    Synesthesia is not a “disorder”; it is a neurological condition. People with synesthesia function normally and in many cases do not even recognize that their perceptions are abnormal.

  51. Lori -  November 25, 2010 - 11:24 am

    r and s are always red, 2 is orange, 7 is green and blue always tastes like blue :)

  52. Andrea -  November 24, 2010 - 12:35 pm

    This is really, really fascinating. Reading all these comments confirms that I definitely do not taste words, but I wonder if it’s because I am not too keen on food in general?
    I definitely don’t have synesthesia, but when I do make associations, it’s with sounds, and it is almost always visual. Numbers are nothing to me but black shapes whose value I can’t visualize easily, which is probably why math isn’t my strongest point. But music? I remember notes and chord progressions by the images I see when I hit them, but it’s always related to what I’m thinking about in the song. Sometimes they bring colors along, like a song can feel nothing but “yellow” despite it being un-cheery or another one is definitely “gray” without being sad, but I think this is just that I’m a very visually-oriented person.

  53. Krish -  November 21, 2010 - 11:54 pm

    sunshine, beer, gentle and delicate all have a beauty deep within them… yes?

  54. Rainne -  November 21, 2010 - 12:59 pm

    Tastes like purple.

  55. CC -  November 19, 2010 - 7:15 pm

    I do not suffer from this disorder, I enjoy every minute of it.
    Just so you know…
    Synesthesia is a tasty word.

  56. Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry -  November 19, 2010 - 1:43 pm

    Maybe this explains the phrase “green-smelling liquid,” (something I read in a college class decades ago,– thought it amusing-at-best at the time: figured it meant anything from, unripe, to unruly, in the author’s mind).

  57. Vinnie -  November 19, 2010 - 1:40 am

    Why is this called a brain -disorder- ? Who decides what is a disorder and what is the next step in evolution?

  58. Abi -  November 18, 2010 - 7:36 pm

    This is a cool post! Yeah, I associate letters and tastes and words with colors… or however you want to mix that up. I think I said it wrong. Anyway, I can taste words sometimes… Like, for an example, I think of chocolate chip cookies. Then I can taste them in my mouth… Yumi. Then it makes me want cookies! =P It is an interesting talent that some ppl have.

    • Meg -  October 6, 2014 - 7:11 pm

      It’s not Synesthesia if the taste and thing are related like when you said thinking of chocolate chip cookies makes you taste chocolate chip cookies. Think of it this way; if you saw something that looks heavy and you are asked to pick it up and you think it will be heavy you will lift it as if it is heavy and then you will be like “oh, this isn’t heavy”. That made sense before I typed it and now it makes no sense at all. Maybe it will make sense to someone, somehow.

  59. Naya Van der Haans -  November 18, 2010 - 7:22 pm

    It makes me feel special because I have this. I have both grapheme to color synesthesia, and the type where on hears sounds and sees a color.

  60. Ken -  November 18, 2010 - 6:48 pm

    Ah, I sense colours when seeing numbers and letters! For example, I see 3 as green, 4 as red and 5 as yellow. So when I see a string of numbers such as 55433433 I see traffic light colours.

    In another case if I see the digits 0-9 with one digit missing, eg, 019726835, I can quite quickly tell that the missing digit is 4 because the string of numbers doesn’t have the ‘red’ feeling. :D

  61. Mariela Gonzalez -  November 18, 2010 - 6:48 pm

    This website helps me alot on my homework , its great to usee. (:

  62. J -  November 18, 2010 - 5:19 pm

    I love the word “Joy.” It tastes so sour, like a Warhead, but a million times more so. Also, “Bitter” because it is sweet, like a piece of Cherry Laffy Taffy. I don’t really taste the words in my mouth, but more so in my head. Like when you close your eyes to enjoy something really yummy, you feel the taste. It’s sort of like that for me with most words. Some, though, like “Apex,” “Feather,” and “Rain” I can actaully taste.

  63. Nicole -  November 18, 2010 - 3:00 pm

    For as long as I can remember I have associated numbers and letters with colors, so it’s weird to think that there are people who don’t do this. I remember one day my boyfriend and I were arguing about what color the number 6 is. I see it as orange, and he thinks it’s green. All day we walked around asking our classmates, “If six were a color what would it be?” Some people immediately gave us colors (orange and green were very common and so was red), but others just gave us weird looks and said, “…What?”

    I occasionally can “taste” words, but not often. “Car” tastes like celery though. :)

    • Meg -  October 6, 2014 - 7:13 pm

      Six is orange :)

  64. Curly Hair -  November 17, 2010 - 4:14 am

    I read somewhere that Beethoven had this disease. He saw music in colors.


    I am quite sure that Cyberquill knows the difference between “neither” and “nor”. People are allowed a typo every now and then.

  65. Relieved to be Normal -  November 15, 2010 - 3:25 am

    Hi guys. I’m 13 years old and I’ve been “tasting words” since I was about 6. I always thought everyone else did that, too, but I guess not. I don’t know if I’m actually tasting words, or simply being reminded of food when I hear words, but I used to be really worried. For example, ‘example’ tastes of maple syrup. ‘For’ tastes like creamed corn. ‘Like’ tastes like cucumber sushi. In class, I cringe when I hear words such as ‘squirm’ for it tastes of worms and dirt, ‘try’ because it tastes lile mustard seed, or ‘miraculous’ as it tastes of mayonnaise. I love words such as ‘accurately’, for it tastes of the cereal bits of Lucky Charms, ‘high’ because it tastes like bacon, ‘more’ because it tastes like water and ‘pull’ because it tastes like maraschino cherries.

    • Rachel -  January 20, 2016 - 12:38 am

      what did “like” taste like before you ever asted cucumber sushi?

  66. mark v -  November 9, 2010 - 3:47 pm

    Disorder ‘sounds’ negative, like ‘side effect’, but merely describes something that deviates from the norm. “a disturbance is functions, an irregularity.”

    It may be a gift, but its still a disorder =P

  67. Abby -  November 8, 2010 - 6:20 pm

    Alexi–The book is called A Mango Shaped Space, if you wanted to know. :)

  68. Charlotte -  November 8, 2010 - 6:16 pm

    This is not a disorder. I think of it as a gift. It helps me with spelling, and remembering lots of things other “normal” people can’t. It’s actually really offending for me when people call it a disorder. It doesn’t limit me in anyway, the only thing that is annoying is when I see a letter or word in the ‘wrong’ color. that just hurts on my eyes.

  69. Jenny -  November 8, 2010 - 5:55 pm

    Speaking of trumpet solos – when asked by a musician if he had any specific instructions for the orchestra, composer Arnold Schoenberg is reported to have said, “Why, yes, could you play it a little more greenish-brown-ly?”

  70. Kaity -  November 8, 2010 - 4:50 pm

    i have this… i never knew what it was called. actually i never knew everyone didn’t experience this! to me it’s so everyday i almost don’t even notice it any more. it’s been going on since i was a child.

  71. brad -  November 8, 2010 - 8:57 am

    interesting, i always curious about what it was called when i would hear a color and think of a shape or taste

  72. lyuncheetnAF -  November 8, 2010 - 8:31 am

    As I am in the ingestible human waste business.This tastes like a waste of time. But i love the waay it smells.B0Q= 8 >

  73. Saf -  November 8, 2010 - 8:23 am

    Interesting article. I had never read anything about synaesthesia before, especially not in the comments section of last Monday’s Hot Word of the Day.

    Also, I imagine that the word ‘synaesthesia’ tastes like chloroseptic spray. Would any synesthetes like to verify this?


  74. WordTaster -  November 8, 2010 - 7:12 am

    Yes, I seem to have something similar to this as well, not as much with colors on numbers, but I do associate a lot of words with certain foods. For instance, the word “original” makes me think of tacos. I always thought that it had something to do with where I learned the word. I mean, I was probably watching a commercial for taco bell’s original tacos or something. This is not the case for all words for me, but it is interesting. I suppose I might have a touch of this too. I don’t actually taste the food, but I do visualize it.

  75. mark v -  November 8, 2010 - 7:11 am

    Theres some guy with Synesthesia that interprets numbers as colored polygons, and can do crazy maths off hte top of his head, because he can just put all the blocks together in his head and read the shape.

  76. Daja -  November 8, 2010 - 6:37 am

    Now I know what that word is, next time I eat mushrooms it will be more fun. Who knew it was real!?

  77. rr -  November 8, 2010 - 6:28 am

    @Cyberquill on November 7, 2010 at 12:04 pm
    The state when I’m either completely asleep nor completely awake? I call it “work.”

    “Neither” is used with “nor.”

  78. N by NE -  November 8, 2010 - 5:22 am

    the olfactory senses is airbourne, which is predominantly found in rather primitive creatures–I guess humans are among them–very strange way of communicating that is really puzzling.

  79. Clark -  November 8, 2010 - 5:08 am

    I suppose it could be a disorder, but I’m kinda jealous. Of course it would be a bummer if my favorite words started tasting like boiled okra or rotten cabbage. But seeing numbers a colors? Sounds more like a gift!

  80. N by NE -  November 8, 2010 - 4:08 am

    If the regular correpondance between neurons and body sensors in creating perceptions and images deviates and if such deviations can not be pertain to not only one individual but shared by others, that would be called art.

    The thing is the advancement of our new technology and science is contributing to the dawn of art in the 21st century, I wonder.

    I am not savvy in the today’s art, but if there is anyone who is experimenting in such a field would be interesting.

  81. jennah -  November 8, 2010 - 3:51 am

    WOW! I wish I could do that.
    Love this article!

  82. justin -  November 8, 2010 - 3:51 am

    yeah it all makes sense to me. I’m a musician but also am very visually oriented. often when i hear or play music it evokes colors or abstract patterns. it cool because, well first its cool, but also it helps with learning and playing.

  83. EVAR-CEAKO -  November 8, 2010 - 3:09 am

    when shall educationists and their likes stop pondering on spiritual matters with carnal minds. Spiritualism isn’t understood by your level of education, one can only comprehend through revelation the mysteries of dreams and other spiritual occurrences.

    Be a seeker of the truth of God and His statetus; read John. 4:22-24…

    Thanks to all!

  84. kr -  November 7, 2010 - 10:52 pm

    yeah ryt..this is for real..haha..like like it..:)

  85. D.Radu -  November 7, 2010 - 10:29 pm

    Hmmmmmm. The article terms this sense as being a ‘disorder’. That seems strange to me as I thought everyone did this. That is to say everybody, across the board, assosiatedd colours to words and letters and numbers,(in my case, I also do this particularly to the months of the year and days of the week, as well assosiate different colours to food e.g. to me roast chicken is a pastel/water colour-y blue). I thought that there was nothing strange in doing this. I supposed that it is a way of organising events and memories in accordance to the Ol Factory senses. So…. hmmmmmm?

  86. Bev -  November 7, 2010 - 9:25 pm

    i think i might have a little bit of this… i taste words ( to a certain degree) when i think of certain letters and numbers they are always in specific colours and it has been like this for as long as I remember… al so words have textures and flavours.
    maybe i’m just crazy

  87. CaptainPenelope -  November 7, 2010 - 9:22 pm

    Can’t zeugma also be applied to this idea, when used a literary term?

  88. Ferret -  November 7, 2010 - 6:08 pm

    N by NE: I’m not completely sure what you are asking, but perception (the organization of reality) is created by the brain as an interpretation of the senses. Neurons are not organs, but because they are a part of the nervous system, I suppose you could say they are dominant over the skin sensors.
    In other words, the neurons (by association with the brain) are dominant over skin sensors in perception. However, both of them are cells, not organs.

  89. N by NE -  November 7, 2010 - 3:16 pm

    Which is more dominant organ that organizes the reality, neurons or sensory skin? And language.

  90. alexi -  November 7, 2010 - 2:37 pm

    i read a book about a girl who had that… it had mango in the title and a’s were yellow.

  91. Cyberquill -  November 7, 2010 - 12:04 pm

    The state when I’m either completely asleep nor completely awake? I call it “work.”

  92. Nathan Hunter -  November 7, 2010 - 11:36 am

    Yeah, like I heard that blind people, because they can’t see, the rest of their sensory things are better sometimes than if they could see. Wierd. I like this post.

  93. IFN BRAIN | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  November 7, 2010 - 11:27 am

    [...] the articles confuse ya — and the links may often lose ya — we wait for the refrain — because it’s all somehow connected — though for sure it’s not perfected [...]


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