HomeFreudian Slip: What Makes Your Tongue Slip?

Freudian Slip: What Makes Your Tongue Slip?

What happens when you try to say a thing, but you end up saying something else?

According to psychologist Sigmund Freud, it could be revealing your secret thought or secret wish. This concept is termed Freudian Slip.

What is a Freudian Slip?

A Freudian slip, also known as parapraxis, is a verbal or memory mistake, generally a slip of tongue. It is considered to be linked to your unconscious mind. Apparently, the slip of your tongue reveals private thoughts and feelings that you may hold but do not want to blurt out.

The most common examples of Freudian slip include calling your partner by your ex’s name, saying an incorrect word, or even misunderstanding a written or spoken word.

What Causes Freudian Slip?

The exact cause of this phenomenon is unknown to scientists and researchers. However, there are a few explanations suggesting why you may fall prey to Freudian slip time and again.

Suppression of Thoughts

Some research holds that your unconscious or repressed thoughts may boost the possibility of verbal slip. A study was carried out in 1979, and it was discovered that people who believed they would receive painful electronic shocks were more likely to make shock-related verbal errors. While the specific parts of your brain suppress the concealed thoughts, another part keeps checking in periodically to ensure you are not thinking about it.

The process ironically brings all the ideas you are trying to keep hidden to the forefront of your tongue.

Language Processing

Verbal mistakes are also related to the way your brain processes a language. You silently edit your words before speaking and also carefully monitor yourself for inappropriate language or mistake you might make while speaking among many people.

When this system fails, you may fall prey to Freudian slips, thus leading to a slip of tongue. Your brain doesn’t catch it, and you blurt it out. According to a study, a person makes one or two errors for every thousand words said.

Besides the two causes of Freudian slip coined by the experts, there are some alternate explanations too.

The Result of Distraction

You may often suffer from a slip of the tongue if you are distracted or do not have a good hand at multitasking. For instance, if you are chatting with friends on one hand but your mind has floated off to think about anything else, you may quickly mix two things while talking to them, causing a slip of tongue.

Accidentally Mixing Words

All languages are unique and complex. When you reach adulthood, you are acquainted with tens of thousands of words. Thus, it is rather conceivable if you blend some of them from time to time.


Freudian slip may be the result of suggestion too. For instance, if you need a bathroom and your friend says, “Whatever you do, do not think about waterfalls”.  It would be no wrong to say you will instantly start thinking about flowing rivers, downpours, and cascades. Upon having something in mind, you may see that it slips into the discussion, causing a slip of tongue.

Is it Normal to Have a Freudian Slip?

If you have made a Freudian slip or two, we suggest you not worry about it too much. It is more than normal to experience this condition, and many people make them regularly.

What are your thoughts on Freudian Slips? Tell us in the comments below.

A content-writer who writes a lot about Lifestyle. You will see me reading a book or listening to Nirvana in my free time.


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