cat·​a·​ton·​ic | \ ˌka-tə-ˈtä-nik How to pronounce catatonic (audio) \

Definition of catatonic

1 : of, relating to, marked by, or affected with catatonia catatonic schizophrenia
2 : characterized by a marked lack of movement, activity, or expression tourists who were almost catatonic at finding themselves in their hero's presence— Neil Hickey

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Other Words from catatonic

catatonic noun
catatonically \ ˌka-​tə-​ˈtä-​ni-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce catatonic (audio) \ adverb

Examples of catatonic in a Sentence

a catatonic stare was all that the neglected resident of the nursing home seemed capable of
Recent Examples on the Web Most of the state laws prohibiting the use of salvinorin A were passed in the mid-2000s after videos of teenagers smoking salvia and going catatonic or losing control of their behaviors and emotions began circulating on the web. Daniel Oberhaus, Wired, "This Is My Brain on Salvia," 14 Oct. 2020 The most recent wave brings her from Alabama to stay with Gifty, bedridden in the catatonic thrall of a major depressive episode as Gifty searches for answers in mice. Barbara Vandenburgh, USA TODAY, "Review: Yaa Gyasi’s 'Transcendent Kingdom' a profound story of faith, addiction and loss," 1 Sep. 2020 Maggie’s father, Peter, goes emotionally catatonic upon Iris’ unexpected death. Patty Rhule, USA TODAY, "Review: Love, sex, grief and family make 'All My Mother's Lovers' a melancholy debut," 25 May 2020 Surrounded by a chorus of medics and nurses, the adult Kay (Mr Grässle) lies in a catatonic state. The Economist, "A new retelling of “The Snow Queen” is aimed squarely at adults," 31 Dec. 2019 Soon after a curiously catatonic patient mysteriously appears in a chaotic emergency psych ward, bodies start dropping. Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Psychology, the supernatural and Shane Carruth meet in incoherent ‘The Dead Center’," 10 Oct. 2019 Williams plays a doctor who has, at least temporarily, helped patients come out of decades-long catatonic states. Dorrine Mendoza, CNN, "Robin Williams: His advice still matters," 11 Aug. 2019 Last December, Brighid FitzGibbon’s son, Evan, entered a catatonic state. Jocelyn Wiener,, "Calif. counties inconsistent in offering critical treatment for early psychosis," 5 July 2019 The film shows nearly catatonic elderly people responding to musical stimulation as though animated by a power switch. Eric Zorn,, "Music might someday unlock the mind's memories, so make your playlist now," 14 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'catatonic.' 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 catatonic

1904, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for catatonic

see catatonia

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Time Traveler for catatonic

Time Traveler

The first known use of catatonic was in 1904

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Cite this Entry

“Catatonic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for catatonic


cata·​ton·​ic | \ ˌkat-ə-ˈtän-ik How to pronounce catatonic (audio) \

Medical Definition of catatonic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of, relating to, marked by, or affected with catatonia catatonic schizophrenia catatonic rigidity catatonic patients

Other Words from catatonic

catatonically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce catatonic (audio) \ adverb



Medical Definition of catatonic (Entry 2 of 2)

: a catatonic individual

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