conversion disorder


: a psychoneurosis in which bodily symptoms (such as paralysis of the limbs) appear without physical basis

called also conversion hysteria, conversion reaction

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web It’s estimated that 10 to 15 percent of people who will show up in a modern neurologist’s office will be having some type of conversion disorder. The Politics Of Everything, The New Republic, 29 Sep. 2021 There still has been no definitive answer, but most bets are on conversion disorder — a condition in which stress manifests as physical symptoms. Avery Hurt, Discover Magazine, 7 Oct. 2022 It is called vasovagal syncope, which is more common than conversion disorder. Richard Obert, The Arizona Republic, 22 Sep. 2022 After tests and scans, the diagnosis was conversion disorder, her mother, Lindsey, said. Richard Obert, The Arizona Republic, 22 Sep. 2022 Rare conditions can also result from stress and trauma, including functional neurological disorder, or conversion disorder, which affects someone’s ability to see, walk or hear — without any medical explanation. Washington Post, 17 Dec. 2021 Generations of scientists have tried to understand these bizarre conditions, which have historically been given diverse names, such as hysteria, conversion disorder or psychosomatic illness. Diana Kwon, Scientific American, 1 Nov. 2020 Perhaps coincidentally, as Freud's influence in psychiatry faded over the decades, so did cases of conversion disorder—to the point where some viewed it as a bygone ailment of the Victorian era. Diana Kwon, Scientific American, 1 Nov. 2020 Coutlress has a conversion disorder that has affected her leg function. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, 3 May 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'conversion disorder.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1980, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of conversion disorder was in 1980

Dictionary Entries Near conversion disorder

Cite this Entry

“Conversion disorder.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 2023.

Medical Definition

conversion disorder

variants also conversion hysteria or conversion reaction
: a psychiatric disorder in which bodily symptoms (as paralysis of the limbs) appear without physical basis and that is typically associated with psychological stress or conflict

More from Merriam-Webster on conversion disorder

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