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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from catatonic

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

The season premiere sees June reassigned to a new household in the wake of Nicole’s disappearance and the Waterford house burning down in a fire started by a near-catatonic Serena (Yvonne Strahovski). Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Handmaid's Tale," 5 June 2019 There, Detective Richard finds Camille practically catatonic, but saves her and Amma while the other police arrest Adora. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Sharp Objects' Cliffhanger Season Finale Is Pure, Confusing Terror," 27 Aug. 2018 A few more years of this and the simple joy of being able to leave a project out on a workbench overnight is going to leave me catatonic with glee. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "The Joy and Agony of Woodworking in a Tiny Apartment," 10 Mar. 2017 Unfortunately, getting answers won’t be easy because the man has been in a catatonic state for almost a decade. Chuck Barney, Detroit Free Press, "TV highlights for the week of July 8-14," 7 July 2018 Similarly, the Skripals were found slumped on a bench in a catatonic state back in March. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Second Novichok poisoning in Britain raises alarm, questions over contamination," 5 July 2018 There was the medical student who’d become catatonic when faced with an exam, and was accused of wanting, at some level, to jettison his career. Eric Boodman, STAT, "It’s not ‘all in your head’: When other doctors give up on patients, a boundary-breaking neurologist treats them," 19 June 2018 Annie, as the story opens, has just lost her mother, and at the funeral, Annie’s almost catatonic, quietly brutal eulogy is something to behold. David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle, "In ‘Hereditary’ starring Toni Collete, a family tree gets uprooted in chilling ways," 4 June 2018 Sure, the baby’s biological mother is basically catatonic with trauma, but Serena’s mood is what’s really going to make the difference! Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Handmaid's Tale Episode 5 Is Utter Despair and I'm Not Sure I Have Any Emotions Left," 16 May 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of catatonic

1904, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for catatonic

see catatonia

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about catatonic

Statistics for catatonic

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for catatonic

The first known use of catatonic was in 1904

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 catatonically (audio) \ adverb



Medical Definition of catatonic (Entry 2 of 2)

: a catatonic individual

More from Merriam-Webster on catatonic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with catatonic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for catatonic

Comments on catatonic

What made you want to look up catatonic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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