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Freudian slip

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The Freudian slip is named after Sigmund Freud, who described the phenomenon he called faulty action (Fehlleistung or parapraxis) in his 1901 book The Psychopathology of Everyday Life.

The Freudian slip is an error in human action, speech or memory that is believed to be caused by the subconscious mind. The error often appears to the observer as being casual, bizarre or nonsensical, but has some deeper significance. For example, a skeptic might say: "Excuse me, but I'm having doubts about your theories, Dr. Fraud."

Involuntary mistake made while writing or speaking. According to Freud in his early psychoanalytic theory it represents a missed deed that hides a subconscious desire.

Also known as lapus in the literature there are a number of different lapsus depending on the mode of communication:

  • Lapsus Linguae (pl. same): slip of the tongue.
  • Lapsus Calami: slip of the pen. With the variation of Lapsus Clavis: slip of the typewriting
  • Lapsus Memoriae: slip of memory.

Popularization of the term has diluted its technical meaning in some contexts to include any slip-of-the-tongue phenomenon, often in an attempt by the user to humorously assign hidden motives or sexual innuendo to the mistake or blooper. This is particularly common with names, as when a speaker calls a listener by the wrong name. Thus, in everyday usage, Freudian slip has come to mean a slip-of-the-tongue that reveals the speaker's true meaning or intention.

Although not all human errors can be technically attributed to Freudian slips, such behavior is often analyzed as if they were. "Sometimes the truth has a way of coming out in the most embarrassing and unexpected ways." This may be true in many cases, but such analysis should be treated with skepticism.

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de:Freudscher Versprecher
he:טעות פרוידיאנית
it:Lapsus freudiano
nl:Freudiaanse verspreking
pl:Freudowska pomyłka
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