Stockholm syndrome

noun

Stock·​holm syndrome ˈstäk-ˌhō(l)m- How to pronounce Stockholm syndrome (audio)
: the psychological tendency of a hostage to bond with, identify with, or sympathize with his or her captor

Examples of Stockholm syndrome in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Those civilians who support them suffer from Stockholm syndrome, which is understandable. Annabelle Timsit, Washington Post, 12 Oct. 2023 Reservations about Palantir were further exacerbated when Peter Thiel, billionaire cofounder and chairman on Palantir’s board, compared Britain’s obsession with the NHS to Stockholm syndrome. WIRED, 21 Sep. 2023 The bizarre tale of a kidnapping attempt, the German kaiser and a beloved ashtray Bejerot, the consulting psychiatrist, is credited with coining Stockholm syndrome that year to describe the phenomenon of captives developing emotional bonds with their captors. Donald Beaulieu, Washington Post, 23 Aug. 2023 The foundations of He Went That Way would appear to promise a movie with curiosity, tension, volatility and perhaps even the kind of improbable bonding that can grow out of Stockholm syndrome. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 June 2023 The girls’ return was, however, received with mixed feelings by some, including Saleh Bala, a retired senior officer of the Nigerian army, who said the girls are victims of the Stockholm syndrome, an emotional response in which some hostage victims develop positive feelings for their captors. BostonGlobe.com, 20 Aug. 2021 On a visit to the U.K. last week, Peter Thiel, the American billionaire software investor and a serial N.H.S antagonist, described the country’s relationship with its health-care model as a case of Stockholm syndrome. Sam Knight, The New Yorker, 24 Jan. 2023 In that way, traffickers create a false sense of trust or indebtedness with victims that can be akin to Stockholm syndrome – and minimize suspicion from law enforcement. USA Today, 19 Jan. 2023 Until customers overcome their Stockholm syndrome, why would pizzerias fork up more money for something that immediately lands in the trash? Saahil Desai, The Atlantic, 13 Jan. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Stockholm syndrome.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

from a 1973 robbery attempt in Stockholm, Sweden, during which bank employees held hostage developed sympathetic feelings toward their captors

First Known Use

1978, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Stockholm syndrome was in 1978

Dictionary Entries Near Stockholm syndrome

Cite this Entry

“Stockholm syndrome.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Stockholm%20syndrome. Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Medical Definition

Stockholm syndrome

noun
Stock·​holm syndrome ˈstäk-ˌhō(l)m- How to pronounce Stockholm syndrome (audio)
: the psychological tendency of a hostage to bond with, identify with, or sympathize with his or her captor
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!