autism

noun
au·​tism | \ ˈȯ-ˌti-zəm \

Definition of autism

: a variable developmental disorder that appears by age three and is characterized especially by difficulties in forming and maintaining social relationships, by impairment of the ability to communicate verbally or nonverbally, and by repetitive behavior patterns and restricted interests and activities … the chief diagnostic signs of autism are social isolation, lack of eye contact, poor language capacity and absence of empathy …— Vilayanur S. Ramachandran et al.

called also autistic disorder

— see autism spectrum disorder

Examples of autism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Not Nicole, who opens up to Colton about her twin brother having autism. Anna Moeslein, Glamour, "The Bachelor Season 23, Episode 2 Recap: Is Demi This Season's Villain?," 14 Jan. 2019 Wahlberg proposed to McCarthy with the help of her teenage son, Evan, who has autism. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "'Blue Bloods' Donnie Wahlberg's Real-Life Love Story Actually Began on Television," 7 Sep. 2018 On the downside, genes associated with intelligence were correlated with a higher risk for autism. Ann Gibbons, Science | AAAS, "Hundreds of new genes may underlie intelligence—but also autism and depression," 25 June 2018 The Eagles have raised in short order, $2.5 million for autism. Fox News, "Kellyanne Conway on Singapore summit, Trump's first 500 days," 10 June 2018 Kristopher was diagnosed as having high-functioning autism as a toddler. Maria Clark, NOLA.com, "Could medical marijuana treat severe autism? Some Louisiana parents believe it can help," 25 Apr. 2018 Many great scientists and national leaders had and have autism. Erin Gabriel, CNN, "Boy with autism builds world's largest Lego Titanic replica," 16 Apr. 2018 The study suggests that no single mechanism accounts for autism. Bradley J. Fikes, sandiegouniontribune.com, "A peek into the brains of autistic children may lead to better treatments," 31 Jan. 2018 So Xiao and her colleagues decided to look at RNA editing in the brains of people with autism. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "Autism involves a large-scale reduction in RNA editing," 21 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'autism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of autism

1944, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for autism

see aut-

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Last Updated

21 Jan 2019

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The first known use of autism was in 1944

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autism

noun
au·​tism | \ ˈȯ-ˌtiz-əm \

Medical Definition of autism

: a developmental disorder that appears by age three and that is variable in expression but is recognized and diagnosed by impairment of the ability to form normal social relationships, by impairment of the ability to communicate with others, and by stereotyped behavior patterns especially as exhibited by a preoccupation with repetitive activities of restricted focus rather than with flexible and imaginative ones But more than 60 years after it was first identified, autism remains mystifying and stubbornly difficult to treat. About the only thing parents, doctors and policy makers agree on is that the best chance for autistic children to develop social and language skills is to enroll them in some type of intensive behavioral therapy.— Benedict Carey, The New York Times, 27 Dec. 2004 Although the chief diagnostic signs of autism are social isolation, lack of eye contact, poor language capacity and absence of empathy, other less well known symptoms are commonly evident. Many people with autism have problems understanding metaphors, sometimes interpreting them literally. They also have difficulty miming other people's actions.— Vilayanur S. Ramachandran et al., Scientific American, November 2006 In approximately 10% of patients, autism can be explained by genetic syndromes and known chromosomal anomalies …— Lauren A Weiss et al., The New England Journal of Medicine, 14 Feb. 2008

called also autistic disorder

— see autism spectrum disorder

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More from Merriam-Webster on autism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with autism

Spanish Central: Translation of autism

Nglish: Translation of autism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about autism

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