lo·​bot·​o·​my | \ lō-ˈbä-tə-mē How to pronounce lobotomy (audio) \
plural lobotomies

Definition of lobotomy

: surgical severance of nerve fibers connecting the frontal lobes to the thalamus that has been performed especially formerly chiefly to treat mental illness

Examples of lobotomy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web By 1949, when Moniz won the Nobel Prize for his procedure, 10,000 lobotomies had been performed in the United States. Tim Requarth, Longreads, "The Final Five Percent," 22 Oct. 2019 Bradley had suffered a severe head injury when his ship sank in the Pacific Ocean, and later had a partial lobotomy. Brendan Farrington, orlandosentinel.com, "Florida set to execute serial killer Gary Ray Bowles on Thursday," 20 Aug. 2019 The public also was mostly kept in the dark about how his sister Rosemary’s developmental delays led to a devastating lobotomy and lifelong institutionalization. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "Before her death, Saoirse Kennedy Hill revealed mental health struggles," 2 Aug. 2019 President Kennedy's sister, Rosemary Kennedy, had part of her brain removed in 1941 in a relatively new procedure known as a prefrontal lobotomy. Faith Karimi, CNN, "Inside the Kennedy family's tragedies and untimely deaths," 2 Aug. 2019 But this is not a story about the evils of lobotomy, except as a means to discuss something else. Michael O'sullivan, Twin Cities, "Jeff Goldblum plays a lobotomist in the haunting, enigmatic ‘The Mountain’," 1 Aug. 2019 Freeman traveled to mental institutions around the U.S. in the ’50s and ’60s championing the dangerous brain surgery and continuing long after prefrontal lobotomies were widely discredited. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The Mountain Is a Strange and Alienating Satire," 28 July 2019 Along with his sullen young assistant, Fiennes visits the asylums of the West Coast performing lobotomies and electric shock therapy. Los Angeles Times, "Classic Hollywood: Jeff Goldblum’s long, strange Hollywood journey," 25 July 2019 By the 1930s, the trend of intervening surgically to alter human behavior headed toward its peak with the development of frontal lobotomy as a treatment for mental illness. Katherine Foxhall, Time, "How A Nurse With a Hole in Her Skull Changed The Medical History of Migraines," 18 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lobotomy.' 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 lobotomy

1936, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for lobotomy

International Scientific Vocabulary

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Time Traveler for lobotomy

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The first known use of lobotomy was in 1936

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Statistics for lobotomy

Last Updated

8 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Lobotomy.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lobotomy. Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for lobotomy


How to pronounce lobotomy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of lobotomy

medical : an operation in which part of the brain is cut in order to treat some mental disorders


lo·​bot·​o·​my | \ lō-ˈbät-ə-mē How to pronounce lobotomy (audio) \
plural lobotomies

Medical Definition of lobotomy

: surgical severance of nerve fibers connecting the frontal lobes to the thalamus that has been performed especially formerly chiefly to treat mental illness

called also leukotomy

— compare lobectomy

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More from Merriam-Webster on lobotomy

Spanish Central: Translation of lobotomy

Nglish: Translation of lobotomy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lobotomy for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about lobotomy

Comments on lobotomy

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to insert between existing elements

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