neurosis

noun
neu·​ro·​sis | \nu̇-ˈrō-səs, nyu̇-\
plural neuroses\ nu̇-​ˈrō-​ˌsēz , 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

The obsessive need to parasail over volcanoes in Mongolia, swim with man-eating sharks in the Seychelles and sleep in every farmhouse that George Washington ever bedded down in has contributed to a national epidemic of bucket-list neurosis. Joe Queenan, WSJ, "It’s Time to Kick the Bucket List," 20 July 2018 The protagonist’s problem is a stand-in for the author’s neurosis. Min Jin Lee, New York Times, "Was It the Perfect Crime or a Paranoid Fantasy?," 15 Feb. 2018 There is a certain level of neurosis required to perform underneath the lights. David Murphy, Philly.com, "Do the Phillies really have enough at-bats to go around Gabe Kapler's lineup? | David Murphy," 6 Apr. 2018 Peterson, like a lot of angry white men, appears to experience his feelings as facts and his neuroses as truths. Laurie Penny, Longreads, "Peterson’s Complaint," 12 July 2018 Phillips’ cast reveals the personality conflicts, but not so much the wariness of any grind, and the sheer ennui that often comes from too much time spent around the same darn creative collaborators and the same darn neuroses. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, "In '33 to Nothing' at A Red Orchid, a rock band hits the skids," 23 Apr. 2018 Linney is known for quietly conveying neurosis and loneliness; even desperation. Isobel Thompson, A-LIST, "Centre Stage: Elizabeth Strout," 14 June 2018 Even when dictated by a particular feature’s neurosis, mirror face allows the reality of face-having to fade, to drift into a more nebulous face-as-idea. Molly Fischer, The Cut, "Mirror Face," 2 Apr. 2018 It’s more a collision of trauma and neurosis between the visitor and her hosts, who are also intent on exploiting her for their film (Trevor fantasizes sending it to Sundance). Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Bikini Moon': Film Review | Shanghai 2018," 27 June 2018

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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Statistics for neurosis

Last Updated

17 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for neurosis

The first known use of neurosis was circa 1784

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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 \
plural neuroses\ -​ˌsēz \

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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