Definition of jactitation
: a tossing to and fro or jerking and twitching of the body
jactitation was our Word of the Day on 06/26/2016. Hear the podcast!
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Did You Know?
In the 17th century, lawyers began tossing around the word jactitation, which can be traced back to the Latin verb jactare, meaning "to throw." Originally, jactitation was used as a word for a false claim or assertion being publicly thrown about to the detriment of another person. Run-of-the-mill slander and false claims of being married to someone were two common types of jactitation brought to court. Before long, jactitation had jumped over to the medical profession, where it continues to serve as a word for restless, jerky, or twitchy body movements. In 1761, British writer Laurence Sterne threw jactitation into his novel Tristram Shandy as a substitute for discussion, but that meaning never caught on.
Medical Definition of jactitation
: a tossing to and fro or jerking and twitching of the body or its parts : excessive restlessness especially in certain psychiatric disorders
jactitate\ˈjak-tə-ˌtāt\play transitive verb
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