Mentality and Mindfulness Meanings

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Mental and its lexical relations, all pertaining to workings of the mind, as well as mind and words and phrases derived from that word, are listed and defined in this post.

Mental is descended from the Latin noun mens, meaning “mind.” It means “pertaining to the mind,” though it also has a slang connotation of being irrationally agitated, as when somebody is said to be “going mental.” Demented, likewise, is used both technically, to mean “mentally impaired,” and informally, to describe someone who is mentally unstable to a dangerous extent; dementia refers to cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s disease as well as to insanity. (Demential is a rare adjectival form.)

Mentality means “intelligence,” though it more often refers subjectively to one’s way of thinking, as in the phrase “small-town mentality.” Mentation, meanwhile, is the process of thinking, and from this word science fiction author Frank Herbert derived Mentat, the name of a class of humans endowed with powerful cognitive abilities who take the place of computers in a future technophobic society.

Mentalist is a dated term for a mind reader, someone who claims to be able to detect the thoughts of others. The noun mention can refer to a formal acknowledgment of recognition (as in a special mention or an honorable mention) or can denote calling attention to something; it serves as a verb for both meanings as well. A mentor is a person who provides guidance and advice to a person seeking to develop knowledge and skills. The term mentee was superfluously coined to describe the latter person; protégé serves that purpose well enough.

To comment is to note or remark, or provide an explanation or illustration, or a critique or judgment; as a noun, the word refers to any such communication. (A commentary is a formal comment, usually expressed in speech or writing, though it may also refer metaphorically to a phenomenon that unintentionally speaks judgmentally to a state of affairs, as in “The unsightly litter is a sad commentary on the decline in the sense of personal responsibility.”) A memento is an object that prompts memories, such as a souvenir. (The Latin phrase “memento mori” means “reminder of mortality.”) A reminiscence is a recalled memory of an experience; to bring one to mind is to reminisce.

The Latin forebear is seen in the Latin phrase “mens rea,” meaning “guilty mind,” and “mens sana in corpore sano,” which translates to “a sound mind in a sound body.” “Compos mentis,” meanwhile, means “of sound mind”; “non compos mentis” is a legal and medical term denoting the absence of a capacity to understand a situation.

The ubiquitous suffix -ment, referring to a condition or state, an action or a location of an action, or an agent, means, or result of an action, is unrelated.

The word mind, from the Old English term gemynd, is cognate with mens as well as <a href="http://”>monere, meaning “warning” (the source of monitor, admonish, and other words).

The noun mind is often considered synonymous with brain, referring in general to an organism’s mental activities and capabilities, but the latter term denotes the organ that controls body functions, prompts physical responses, and facilitates learning; the mind is more accurately described as the part of a person that thinks, reasons, decides, perceives, and feels.

Other senses include “memory” (as in “Keep that in mind”), “intention” (“Have you changed your mind?”), “opinion” (“She spoke her mind”), and “mood” (“I’m not in a good state of mind right now”). In addition, the word denotes a collective mental quality (as in “hive mind”) or a person of superior intelligence (“one of the great minds of our age”). Meanwhile, a minder is someone who attends to or oversees someone or something.

To mind is to attend to, notice, or pay attention, or to obey or follow instructions, or to be careful or concerned. A reminder is a note about something to remember or a memory aid; the verb form is remind.

The phrase “never mind” is employed to denote something less likely than something else (as in “I couldn’t even run a mile right now, never mind a marathon”) and is an idiom meaning “disregard what I said.” The use of Nevermind as the title of an album by the band Nirvana likely contributed to the frequent erroneous occurrence of the phrase as a closed compound, but any treatment of the term as one word other than in a colloquialism such as “It don’t make me no nevermind” (meaning “It doesn’t matter to me”) is an error.

To be aware or attuned is to be mindful; the quality is mindfulness. To be mindless is to act without thinking or using critical-thinking skills; mindlessly is the adverbial form.

Mind control is the practice of influencing someone’s beliefs, thoughts, and actions through hypnosis, propaganda, or other forms of persuasion or suggestion and, in fiction, manipulation of the person’s brain using some sort of technology. Meanwhile, a mind-set is a way of thinking. (Writers often treat this word as a closed compound, but dictionaries still favor the hyphenated form.)

A mastermind is someone responsible for plotting or strategizing a scheme or a plan; the word is often used in the context of illicit or otherwise undesirable activities, as in “criminal mastermind.” One of limited intelligence or judgment is feebleminded (in the first sense only) or simpleminded. One who is forgetful is absentminded. Adverbial forms of these words are produced by adding the suffix -ly.

Something that is astonishing, exciting, inspiring, puzzling, or otherwise stimulating or that has the potential to figuratively or literally alter one’s perception is referred to as mind-bending, mind-blowing, or mind-boggling. Such a phenomenon itself is called a mind-bender, mind-blower, or mind-boggler.

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