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 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 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 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

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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Statistics for catatonic

Last Updated

11 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Catatonic.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 28 January 2020.

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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 catatonically (audio) \ adverb



Medical Definition of catatonic (Entry 2 of 2)

: a catatonic individual

More from Merriam-Webster on catatonic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for catatonic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


showing steady, earnest care and effort

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