alex·​ia | \ ə-ˈlek-sē-ə How to pronounce alexia (audio) \

Definition of alexia

: aphasia marked by loss of ability to read

First Known Use of alexia

1875, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for alexia

probably borrowed from German Alexie, from a- a- entry 2 + Greek léxis "speech, word, phrase" + German -ie -ia entry 1 — more at lexis

Note: German Alexie was used by the Austrian neurologist Moritz Benedikt (1835-1920) in "Ueber Aphasie, Agraphie und verwandte pathologische Zustände," Wiener medizinische Zeitschrift (6. Jahrgang, Nr. 48, November 26, 1865, pp. 1167-69), though it is not evident that Benedikt coined the word. It is clearly modeled on Aphasie aphasia and Agraphie agraphia, but Greek léxis, derived from légein "to speak," does not pertain to reading; Benedikt (if he coined the word) may have confused léxis with derivatives of Latin legere "to read," as lēctiō "act of reading" (cf. lection).

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Cite this Entry

“Alexia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for alexia


alex·​ia | \ ə-ˈlek-sē-ə How to pronounce alexia (audio) \

Medical Definition of alexia

: aphasia characterized by loss of ability to read

Other Words from alexia

alexic \ -​ˈlek-​sik How to pronounce alexia (audio) \ adjective

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