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 The city’s architecture bespeaks the literal whitewashing of its psyche, a kind of metaphor for the lobotomy that is being performed on collective memory. Jerrine Tan, Wired, 4 Aug. 2022 But two things threaten to undo her emotionally: the lobotomy her husband arranged for mentally disabled daughter Rosemary, and Teddy's crisis. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 23 May 2022 Another remedy was lobotomy, pioneered by Egas Moniz, a Portuguese neurologist whose innovation earned him the 1949 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Richard J. Mcnally, WSJ, 13 May 2022 When Bruce was around 5, she was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, subjected to a prefrontal lobotomy and confined to mental institutions. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, 5 Jan. 2022 In 1949, Antonio Egas Moniz shared the prize for his development of the lobotomy, a controversial—and now discredited—surgical procedure to cut away parts of the brain in the hope of curing mental illness. Robert Hart, Forbes, 3 Sep. 2021 The first series saw the nurse at its heart stirring up trouble in the lobotomy-friendly Lucia State Hospital in Northern California. Mark Kennedy, Star Tribune, 13 July 2021 Tragically, a lobotomy in 1941 had left Rosemary in a wheelchair and with greatly limited speech — an injustice that Eunice never forgave. Nick Maslow, PEOPLE.com, 9 July 2021 The lobotomy is a favorite, a swift blow with a hammer and ice pick straight through the eye socket. Chris Vognar, Los Angeles Times, 25 May 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of lobotomy

1936, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for lobotomy

lobe + -o- + -tomy

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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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Last Updated

10 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Lobotomy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lobotomy. Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for lobotomy


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

More from Merriam-Webster on lobotomy

Nglish: Translation of lobotomy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lobotomy for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about lobotomy


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