Definition of Munchausen syndrome
: a psychological disorder characterized by the feigning of the symptoms of a disease or injury in order to undergo diagnostic tests, hospitalization, or medical or surgical treatment —called also Munchausen's syndrome
Origin and Etymology of munchausen syndrome
Baron K. F. H. von Münchhausen †1797 German soldier and proverbial teller of exaggerated tales
First Known Use: 1951See Words from the same year
Medical Definition of Munchausen syndrome
: a psychological disorder characterized by the feigning of the symptoms of a disease or injury in order to undergo diagnostic tests, hospitalization, or medical or surgical treatment
Biographical Note for munchausen syndrome
Münchhausen \ˈmuenḵ-ˌhau̇-zən\play ,
Karl Friedrich Hieronymous, Freiherr von (1720–1797), German soldier. As a retired cavalry officer Münchhausen acquired a reputation as a raconteur of preposterous stories about his adventures as a soldier, hunter, and sportsman. From 1781 to 1783 a collection of such tales was published, with authorship generally attributed to the baron. An English version of the tales was published in 1785 under the title Baron Munchausen's Narrative of His Marvellous Travels and Campaigns in Russia. Only years later in 1824 was it revealed that the author of the English edition was Rudolph Erich Raspe (1737–1794). Other authors used these stories as source material to exaggerate still further or to compose other tall tales of a similar mode. Gradually Münchhausen's name became associated with the amusingly preposterous story or the lie winningly told.
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