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Deja Vu vs. Premonitions: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on February 11, 2024
Déjà vu is a feeling that one has lived through the present situation before, whereas premonitions are a feeling of anticipation or anxiety over a future event.

Key Differences

Déjà vu, a French term meaning 'already seen,' describes the sensation that an event or experience currently being experienced has been experienced before. In contrast, premonitions are a sense of foreknowledge about a future event, often without a basis in actual past experience.
Déjà vu is often associated with a sense of familiarity and repetition, occurring spontaneously and typically without any conscious prediction. Premonitions, however, are characterized by a feeling of anticipation or prediction about something that has not yet happened, sometimes accompanied by anxiety or apprehension.
Déjà vu usually lacks a clear and rational explanation, often being attributed to psychological, neurological, or spiritual causes. Premonitions are also challenging to explain scientifically, but they tend to have a more anticipatory nature, suggesting a future occurrence rather than a repetition of the past.
Déjà vu is commonly experienced by many people and is not generally considered a sign of any psychological disorder. Premonitions, while also experienced by many, can sometimes be associated with anxiety disorders or heightened states of emotion.
Déjà vu typically involves mundane, everyday experiences, giving a mysterious sense of having already lived through a moment. Premonitions, on the other hand, often concern significant or life-changing events, imbuing them with a more ominous or profound character.

Comparison Chart


Feeling of having already experienced the present situation
Feeling of anticipation or anxiety over a future event


Familiarity and repetition
Anticipation and prediction

Scientific Explanation

Largely unexplained, linked to memory
Largely unexplained, can be intuitive

Psychological Association

Common and not indicative of disorder
Sometimes linked with anxiety or emotion

Typical Content

Mundane, everyday experiences
Significant, life-altering events

Deja Vu and Premonitions Definitions

Deja Vu

An eerie sense of familiarity in a new situation.
Walking into the old house, she was struck by a strong sense of déjà vu.


A strong feeling that something is about to happen, especially something unpleasant.
He had a premonition that the journey would end badly.

Deja Vu

A psychological phenomenon of recognizing a new event as something experienced before.
During her speech, the sudden déjà vu made her pause, wondering where she had said these words before.


An intuitive anticipation of a future event without a rational basis.
Before the news arrived, she had a premonition that something was wrong with her brother.

Deja Vu

A fleeting, mysterious repetition of the past in the present.
He experienced déjà vu when he heard that song, as if he'd heard it in another life.


A psychic anticipation of a future occurrence.
She woke up with a premonition that today would bring significant change.

Deja Vu

A bizarre sensation that an event has been experienced previously.
The conversation with her friend caused déjà vu, as if they had discussed the same topic long ago.


A forewarning or foreboding about a future event.
The dark clouds gave her a premonition of the impending storm.

Deja Vu

A feeling of reliving an experience that is actually new.
As she walked down the unfamiliar street, the buildings evoked a strong sense of déjà vu.


An inexplicable feeling about the future, often of foreboding.
As he boarded the plane, a sudden premonition made him feel uneasy about the flight.


A presentiment of the future; a foreboding
I had a premonition that our risky endeavor would end badly.


A warning in advance; a forewarning
That skirmish was a premonition of battles to come.


Plural of premonition


What is déjà vu?

Déjà vu is the feeling that one has experienced the current situation before.

Is déjà vu linked to dreams?

There's no scientific evidence linking déjà vu to dreams.

Is déjà vu common?

Yes, many people experience déjà vu at some point in their lives.

Can déjà vu be a sign of a problem?

Generally, no, though frequent déjà vu could be linked to neurological issues.

Are premonitions a type of intuition?

Yes, they can be considered a form of intuition or gut feeling.

Can déjà vu be triggered deliberately?

Déjà vu is a spontaneous phenomenon and generally cannot be triggered on purpose.

Are there different types of déjà vu?

Yes, there are several types, including associative, biological, and pathological déjà vu.

Is déjà vu more common in certain age groups?

It is commonly experienced by people between 15 and 25 years old.

What causes déjà vu?

The exact cause is unknown, but it may involve memory and recognition processes in the brain.

Are premonitions always accurate?

Not necessarily; they are subjective and not always based on factual predictions.

Can premonitions be controlled?

Generally, premonitions are spontaneous and not under conscious control.

How long does a déjà vu experience last?

It typically lasts only a few seconds to a minute.

Do premonitions have a scientific basis?

There is no conclusive scientific evidence to explain premonitions.

Do animals experience premonitions?

There's anecdotal evidence, but it's not scientifically proven.

Is there a cultural aspect to premonitions?

Different cultures may interpret premonitions in various spiritual or supernatural contexts.

Are there techniques to improve premonition accuracy?

There's no scientific method, but some believe in enhancing intuition through meditation and mindfulness.

What are premonitions?

Premonitions are feelings or anticipations about future events.

Can premonitions be about positive events?

Yes, they can be about both positive and negative future events.

What is the difference between premonitions and predictions?

Premonitions are intuitive feelings, while predictions are based on evidence and reasoning.

Can stress cause déjà vu?

There's no direct link, but stress might affect memory, which could play a role in déjà vu.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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