Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

Medical Dictionary

Asperger's syndrome

noun As·per·ger's syndrome \ˈäs-ˌpər-gərz-\

Medical Definition of Asperger's syndrome

  1. :  an autism spectrum disorder that is characterized by impaired social interaction, by repetitive patterns of behavior and restricted interests, by normal language and cognitive development but poor conversational skills and difficulty with nonverbal communication, and often by above average performance in a narrow field against a general background of impaired functioning <… typical of Asperger's syndrome are children or adults who are socially inept but often socially interested, articulate yet strangely ineloquent, markedly gauche and impractical, and specialists in unusual and often narrow fields.—Ann M. Clarke and A. D. B. Clarke, Nature, 9 Jan. 1992> <The ultimate difference, perhaps, is this: people with Asperger's syndrome can tell us of their experiences, their inner feelings and states, whereas those with classical autism cannot.—Oliver Sacks, The New Yorker, 27 Dec. 2003> <Individuals with Asperger syndrome do not have a delay in spoken language development, but they can have serious deficits in social and communication skills. People with Asperger syndrome often have obsessive, repetitive routines and preoccupations with a particular subject, such as trains.—Susan Gaidos, Science News, 23 Oct. 2010>

Biographical Note for asperger's syndrome

Asperger \ˈäs-ˌper-gər\play , Hans (1906–1980), Austrian psychiatrist. Asperger first described the syndrome that bears his name in an article published in 1944.

Variants of asperger's syndrome

or Asperger syndrome \-gər\ also Asperger's disorder or Asperger's

Learn More about asperger's syndrome

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up Asperger's syndrome? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a division or portion of a pool or whole

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?

tetchy superficial flashy gregarious
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.