Mindfulness. n. (act of being mindful, adj.) (Jargon) The concept of being able to live in the present and enjoy the moment.


According to the OED, Mindfulness is formed within English, by derivation. Etymons: mindful adj., -ness suffix.

Mind: The state of being remembered; remembrance, recollection.

“A word inherited from Germanic.
Cognate with Old High German gimunt remembrance, Gothic gamunds
memory, remembrance, reminder, and probably also (with regular loss of the prefix) Old Icelandic mynd image, model < the Germanic base of y- prefix + the Indo-European base of a preterite-present verb for ‘to think, remember, intend’ (see below) + an Indo-European dental suffix forming nouns (compare -th suffix1 1 and -t suffix3 1)” (OED).


Fula suffix meaning “full of,” “characterized by,” “tending to,” “able to,” “as much as will fill.”

Common Germanic: Old English full = Old Frisian fol , ful , Old Saxon ful(l (Dutch vol ), Old High German fol(l (Middle High German vol , modern German voll ), Old Norse full-r (Old Swedish fuld-er , modern Swedish full , Danish fuld ), Gothic full-s < Germanic*follo- , fullo- < Old Aryan *pl̥-nó , represented also in Lithuanian pilna-s , Old Church Slavonic plŭnŭ ; compare also the synonymous Sanskrit pūrṇá , Latin plēnus , Old Irish lán , Welsh llawn ( < pre-Celtic *plāno- , plōno- ), which though not formally identical contain the same root and suffix. From the Aryan root *pel- , pol- , -pl̥ , and its extended forms plē- , plō- , etc. are derived many words expressing the notion of abounding, filling, etc., as Sanskrit puru , Greek πολύς (see fele adj.2); Greek πιμπλάναι to fill, πλήρης full, πλῆθος multitude, Latin (com-, im-, op-, re-, sup-) plēre to fill, plūs more” (OED).

-Nessa native English suffix attached to adjectives and participles, forming abstract nouns denoting quality and state (and often, by extension, something exemplifying a quality or state)

“A word inherited from Germanic.
Cognate with Old Frisian -nisse , Middle Dutch -nisse , -nesse , -nis (Dutch †-nis
), Old Saxon -nissi , -nessi , -nussi (also -nissea ; Middle Low German -nisse , -nesse , -nüsse ), Old High German -nissi , -nessi , -nassi , -nussi , (also -nissa ; Middle High German -nisse , -nis , -nüsse , -nus , German †-nis ), Gothic -inassus , -nassus < the -n- of Germanic n -stems + the Germanic base of -assu- , the suffix attested in Gothic ufarassus abundance ( < ufar , see over adv.), Old English efnes equality ( < emnettan to make even, efn even adj.) < the suffix found in Gothic lauhatjan to flash like lightning and in Old English emnettan to make even + the Germanic base of -th suffix1 ( < the same Indo-European base as the suffix attested in e.g. ford n.1 or classical Latin mōtus : see mote n.3). The variations in the vowel of the West Germanic forms have not been satisfactorily explained. No evidence of the suffix can be found in North Germanic.” (OED).

For Dummies wrote an article that discusses The Origins of Mindfulness. In it the author states that the word itself is not particularly new but that it is now gaining popularity. They also discuss how mindfulness can be traced back to the origins of Buddhism but it was also used and practiced 2,500 years before that by Hindus.

Even though the concept of mindfulness can be traced back to Buddhism, the term in Psychology was brought up around 1970’s, but the concept itself and the research itself is very relevant and new. It only been in the field for around 6-7 years. For a field that is ever growing, it is a huge buzz word currently because it can be applied to many subfields in Psychology (whether it is Social, Developmental, or Cross- Cultural Psychology).

Sociolectal Information:

This word is mostly used by professionals in the field of Psychology but it is definitely becoming a big “buzz word” for society and it’s effect on what people should be doing. Psychology Today, defines “mindfulness as a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them as good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”

Other definition suggested by Wikipedia is that “mindfulness is the practice [of] bringing one’s attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation. The term “mindfulness” is a translation of the Pali-term sati, which is a significant element of some Buddhist traditions.”

Survival Predictions:

I definitely believe that the word is going to be around for a very long time. This term and its concept is something that is effecting people everyday. Being mindful and living in the moment is something that is even effecting this campus. Many times we are so busy or so focused on the academic part of our lives (as students) that we don’t always live in the moment. The word is also self explanatory making it efficient, and I don’t believe there is a better way to explain the concept behind the word.


Mindfulness is a psychological term that applies to people. Its a term that will become more and more relevant throughout the years. With different research being done, it is only a matter of time until everyone keeps this concept in mind. I think in the US, the word will become more relevant in college campuses and in professions that deal with “life coaching” or counseling. The reason for this is the thought that, as we progress more and more, our stress levels will also be increased. We need things like meditation and concepts like mindfulness in order to cope with daily events in our lives. I also think that because we live in a past paced life-style, concepts like mindfulness will be the prime technique of being able to slow down. Mindfulness is simply a more contemporary reference to an age old practice that will be sustained.

Below is the script of an interview conducted by me asking Professor Cheryl Dickter her thoughts on the term Mindfulness:

Q: What is the definition of mindfulness?

A: Focusing on the present and being in the moment as supposed to thinking about all the other things going on in your day, that you have to do, that you did, just being in the moment.

Q: How long do you think this word will be relevant?

A: I think quite awhile, they are showing really positive benefits of it and so to me that shows that its going to last for awhile. There is popular literature on it. Its being popularized in the media. There is a lot of books coming out on it and there is also research coming out on the scientific side. Its not often that you see a concept that is exposed to pop-culture, but there is actually a good research base to it

Q: Do you remember the first time you heard the word?

A: I was giving a talk at VCU and there is a researcher there who does mindfulness work.

Q: Do you remember the year?

A: Umm, probably 2010

Learn how to be mindful and take control of your thoughts. The following video is some advice from Andy Puddicombe in how to use meditation for Mindfulness.


  1. I think another important factor in this word’s sociolectal use/popularity that isn’t mentioned here is the yoga community. Mindfulness is a huge factor in the practice of yoga and it is achieved through consciousness of one’s breath and passive acknowledgement of outside thoughts. In every yoga class that I’ve ever been to, mindfulness has been mentioned! I think it’d be interesting to get an interview with a certified yoga instructor or serious yoga student to compare how the use of the word in the yoga community mirrors and/or is different from its use in the psychology community.

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