The history of every branch of science provides some examples showing that the development of scientific concepts not always proceeds linearly, from a rational hypothesis to a duly validated theory. The case of a neuropharma- cological concept that remains atypical and odd, while enjoying a maintained attention, is presented and analyzed here. Nearly forty years ago, a neurophysiologist involved in drug discovery in Belgium has put forward the concept of drugs able to promote, enhance and protect the cognitive function, termed by him nootropic drugs. As cognition is the typically human higher activity of the brain, nootropic concept looked quite appealing for scores of people dreaming to enjoy better and longer- lasting mental activity and for drug makers keen to produce such enviable products. However, it hardly found any place in the corpus of current neuro- pharmacology, to which it is extraneous as being a holistic type of concept, in sharp contrast with the prevailing propensity towards ever more detailed mo- lecular comprehension. Nevertheless, the nootropic idea shows an amazingA Weird Concept with Unusual Fate: Nootropic Drug 35 persistence in the scientific endeavor and it was largely incorporated in the common culture. Therefore, the origins, the fate and the characteristics of the atypical concept ‘nootropic drug’ undoubtedly deserve reflection, mainly since an objective evaluation of its status might hopefully reveal some points of more general significance.