neurosis

noun
neu·​ro·​sis | \ nu̇-ˈrō-səs How to pronounce neurosis (audio) , nyu̇- \
plural neuroses\ nu̇-​ˈrō-​ˌsēz How to pronounce neurosis (audio) , nyu̇-​ \

Definition of neurosis

: a mental and emotional disorder that affects only part of the personality, is accompanied by a less distorted perception of reality than in a psychosis, does not result in disturbance of the use of language, and is accompanied by various physical, physiological, and mental disturbances (such as visceral symptoms, anxieties, or phobias)

Examples of neurosis in a Sentence

LBJ by legend watched the evening news about Vietnam simultaneously on three TVs, a ticket to a neurosis and night sweats. — Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal, 2 Dec. 2005 He's self-conscious about few things, period, and so utterly lacking in neurosis that it's unnerving, frankly. — Ned Zeman, Vanity Fair, February 2001 None of this official intervention did much to calm the fretfulness about maidservants, for the anxiety about their being both unreliable yet indispensable marked the birth of an authentically bourgeois neurosis. — Simon Schama, The Embarrassment of Riches, 1988
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Recent Examples on the Web This was unpleasant, but Yeun also realized that a life and career in Korea wouldn’t actually break him out of the prismatic neurosis. New York Times, "The Many Lives of Steven Yeun," 3 Feb. 2021 Streep is expectedly good at haughty neurosis flecked with self-awareness, Bergen as her straight-talking counterpart is a delight, and Wiest navigates the space in between with an affable emotional intelligence. Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Meryl Streep, Dianne Wiest and Candice Bergen have a high time on the high seas," 9 Dec. 2020 Guaranteed against war by the President’s promise in July, relying on the election neurosis, the Communists launch a rapid series of new and audacious moves. James Burnham, National Review, "The Third World War," 19 Nov. 2020 The neurosis at the heart of the film is that of the military order itself. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "Pushed to the Edge by “Beau Travail”," 20 Oct. 2020 Many of the major friend-comedy food groups are represented, with a pandemic spin on each situation and neurosis. James Poniewozik, New York Times, "In Shows Like ‘Social Distance,’ TV Learns to Work From Home," 13 Oct. 2020 Electronic music has always inspired this kind of neurosis over the status of the human, a fear of the cyborg. Will Stephenson, Harper's Magazine, "The Well-Tempered Synthesizer," 15 Sep. 2020 Oh, being a perfectionist, being a workaholic, the anxiousness of a Virgo always trying to be [the best can] create a slight neurosis. Paul Grein, Billboard, "20 Questions With VMAs Host Keke Palmer: ‘It’s an Opportunity for Representation’," 28 Aug. 2020 The inversion of this neurosis is the anxiety of being read, the fear of wounding, and just as strong, the dread of being unmasked. Moyra Davey, Harper's Magazine, "White Light/White Heat," 27 Apr. 2020

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

circa 1784, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for neurosis

borrowed from New Latin neurōsis "any of various conditions (as coma or paralysis) involving impairment of the sensory and motor systems without local disease or fever," from Greek neûron "sinew, tendon, nerve" + New Latin -ōsis -osis — more at nerve entry 1

Note: The Latin term neurosis was introduced in the sense given in the etymology ("sensus et motus laesi, sine pyrexia et sine morbo locali") by the Scottish physician William Cullen (1710-90) in Synopsis nosologiæ methodicæ (Edinburgh, 1769), p. 274. Cullen later used the word in English: "In this place I propose to comprehend, under the title of Neuroses, all those preternatural affections of sense or motion, which are without pyrexia as part of the primary disease; and all those which do not depend upon a topical affection of the organs, but upon a more general affection of the nervous system, and of those powers on which sense and motion more especially depend." (First Lines of the Practice of Physic, for the Use of the Students in the University of Edinburgh, vol. 3 [Edinburgh, 1783], p. 2).

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The first known use of neurosis was circa 1784

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Cite this Entry

“Neurosis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/neurosis. Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for neurosis

neurosis

noun

English Language Learners Definition of neurosis

medical : an emotional illness in which a person experiences strong feelings of fear or worry

neurosis

noun
neu·​ro·​sis | \ n(y)u̇-ˈrō-səs How to pronounce neurosis (audio) \
plural neuroses\ -​ˌsēz How to pronounce neurosis (audio) \

Medical Definition of neurosis

: a mental and emotional disorder that affects only part of the personality, is accompanied by a less distorted perception of reality than in a psychosis, does not result in disturbance of the use of language, and is accompanied by various physical, physiological, and mental disturbances (as visceral symptoms, anxieties, or phobias)

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