jac·​ti·​ta·​tion | \ ˌjak-tə-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce jactitation (audio) \

Definition of jactitation

: a tossing to and fro or jerking and twitching of the body

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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.

First Known Use of jactitation

1665, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for jactitation

Late Latin jactitation-, jactitatio, from jactitare, frequentative of Latin jactare to throw — more at jet

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The first known use of jactitation was in 1665

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Cite this Entry

“Jactitation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jactitation. Accessed 12 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for jactitation


jac·​ti·​ta·​tion | \ ˌjak-tə-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce jactitation (audio) \

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

Other Words from jactitation

jactitate \ ˈjak-​tə-​ˌtāt How to pronounce jactitate (audio) \ transitive verb jactitated; jactitating

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