mut·​ism | \ ˈmyü-ˌti-zəm How to pronounce mutism (audio) \

Definition of mutism

: the condition of being unable to speak whether from physical, functional, or psychological cause

Examples of mutism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Federico Atehortúa Arteaga’s essay film connects the 1906 execution of four men charged with attempting to kill the president of Colombia, his mother’s mutism and the origins of Colombian cinema. Peter Libbey, New York Times, "What’s on TV Monday: ‘The Bachelor’ and ‘The New Pope’," 9 Mar. 2020 After all, severe autism repels language, turns it chaotic or, in the case of autistic mutism, simply absorbs it wholesale, as a black hole does light. Eli Gottlieb,, "In 'Shtum,' parents wreck their home to find a better one for their autistic son.," 30 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mutism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of mutism

1824, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for mutism

French mutisme, from Latin mutus mute

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about mutism

Statistics for mutism

Last Updated

12 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mutism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for mutism


mut·​ism | \ ˈmyüt-ˌiz-əm How to pronounce mutism (audio) \

Medical Definition of mutism

: the condition of being unable to speak whether from physical, functional, or psychological cause

More from Merriam-Webster on mutism Encyclopedia article about mutism

Comments on mutism

What made you want to look up mutism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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