dementia pugilistica

noun

dementia pu·​gi·​lis·​ti·​ca -ˌpyü-jə-ˈli-sti-kə How to pronounce dementia pugilistica (audio)
: chronic traumatic encephalopathy
Brain degeneration from repeated blows to the head has been known in boxers since the 1920s as dementia pugilistica, or punch-drunk syndrome.Luna Shyr

Examples of dementia pugilistica in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web By the fifties, punch-drunk syndrome was being described as dementia pugilistica and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Ingfei Chen, The New Yorker, 11 Feb. 2023 And is there really a difference between dementia pugilistica and chronic traumatic encephalopathy? John Kass, chicagotribune.com, 22 Jan. 2021 Over the decades, it was sometimes suggested that dementia pugilistica might befall professional football players, too. Ingfei Chen, The New Yorker, 1 Feb. 2020

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

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from New Latin, "pugilistic dementia"

Note: The term was introduced by J.A. Millspaugh, a lieutenant in U.S. Navy Medical Corps, in "Dementia Pugilistica," United States Naval Medical Bulletin, vol. 35, no. 3 (July, 1937), pp. 297-303.

First Known Use

1938, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dementia pugilistica was in 1938

Dictionary Entries Near dementia pugilistica

Cite this Entry

“Dementia pugilistica.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dementia%20pugilistica. Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

Medical Definition

dementia pugilistica

noun
dementia pu·​gi·​lis·​ti·​ca -ˌpyü-jə-ˈlis-tə-kə How to pronounce dementia pugilistica (audio)
: chronic traumatic encephalopathy
Brain degeneration from repeated blows to the head has been known in boxers since the 1920s as dementia pugilistica, or punch-drunk syndrome.Luna Shyr, National Geographic
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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