mut·​ism ˈmyü-ˌti-zəm How to pronounce mutism (audio)
: 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 Hypnotists told me stories of all kinds of miracles that came from stage shows: chronic pain vanished or a years-long mutism reversed. Emily Latimer, Longreads, 25 Jan. 2024 Even at home, children with selective mutism may fall silent when anyone other than a family member is present. Marisa Cohen, Parents, 18 Sep. 2023 The panel includes generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, separation anxiety disorder, phobias and selective mutism under the category of anxiety. Simrin Singh, CBS News, 20 Sep. 2022 Many mental disorders fall under the greater anxiety umbrella: phobias, social anxiety, PTSD, OCD, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia and even childhood disorders like separation anxiety and selective mutism. Anna Funk, Discover Magazine, 9 June 2021 Ironically, mutism is only a trait while held in captivity; in the wild, the birds can be quite vocal. Brenda Yenke, cleveland, 13 Jan. 2022 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, 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,, 30 May 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mutism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French mutisme, from Latin mutus mute

First Known Use

1824, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of mutism was in 1824

Dictionary Entries Near mutism

Cite this Entry

“Mutism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Medical Definition


mut·​ism ˈmyüt-ˌiz-əm How to pronounce mutism (audio)
: the condition of being unable to speak whether from physical, functional, or psychological cause see also selective mutism

More from Merriam-Webster on mutism

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