cat·​a·​to·​nia | \ ˌka-tə-ˈtō-nē-ə How to pronounce catatonia (audio) \

Definition of catatonia

: a psychomotor disturbance that may involve muscle rigidity, stupor or mutism, purposeless movements, negativism, echolalia, and inappropriate or unusual posturing and is associated with various medical conditions (such as schizophrenia and mood disorders)

Examples of catatonia in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web From ice-water plunges to the early days of electroshock therapy, from lobotomies (honored with a Nobel Prize in 1949) to Thorazine catatonia, its treatments belong to the pages of a dark dystopian novel. Thomas Curwenstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 10 May 2022 The wobbly territory between reality and paranoia is sensitively portrayed by Joan Allen in her role as Lisey’s sister Amanda, who is treated at a mental institution for catatonia and self-harm, afflictions that mask otherworldly secrets. New York Times, 3 June 2021 That’s what director-choreographer Josh Rhodes and Co. managed to do at the Kennedy Center, with this smashing revival-in-concert of the hallucinogenic story of a boy who goes from catatonia to superstardom. Peter Marks, Washington Post, 10 Dec. 2019 Dorothy’s grief is portrayed as bizarre in its depth, with its dolls and nannies and inconvenient catatonia. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, 28 Nov. 2019 That is: The Democratic nominee must be utterly, unassailably vanilla lest the orange one enact the ultimate disaster — reelection — a prospect that terrifies many into near catatonia, including me., 26 Sep. 2019 Other important neurological side effects include psychosis, panic attacks, agitation, confusion and catatonia. Susan Scutti, CNN, 6 Apr. 2018 These patients suffer from acute psychiatric conditions, including treatment-resistant depression, bipolar disorder, psychosis and catatonia. Amy S.f. Lutz,, 19 Oct. 2017 Ugliness is also a way of responding to the difficulty of being a painter now — self-conscious to the point of catatonia, asked to practice a medium that has routinely and falsely been declared dead since its inception. Charlie Fox, New York Times, 4 Sep. 2017 See More

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

First Known Use of catatonia

circa 1891, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for catatonia

New Latin, from German Katatonie, from kata- cata- + New Latin -tonia

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Time Traveler for catatonia

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The first known use of catatonia was circa 1891

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Dictionary Entries Near catatonia

catathymic crisis



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Cite this Entry

“Catatonia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for catatonia


cata·​to·​nia | \ ˌkat-ə-ˈtō-nē-ə How to pronounce catatonia (audio) \

Medical Definition of catatonia

: a marked psychomotor disturbance that may involve stupor or mutism, negativism, rigidity, purposeless excitement, echolalia, echopraxia, and inappropriate or bizarre posturing and is associated with various medical conditions (such as schizophrenia, Huntington's disease, or Wilson's disease)

More from Merriam-Webster on catatonia

Nglish: Translation of catatonia for Spanish Speakers


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