schizophrenia

noun
schizo·​phre·​nia | \ ˌskit-sə-ˈfrē-nē-ə How to pronounce schizophrenia (audio) \

Definition of schizophrenia

1 medical : a mental illness that is characterized by disturbances in thought (such as delusions), perception (such as hallucinations), and behavior (such as disorganized speech or catatonic behavior), by a loss of emotional responsiveness and extreme apathy, and by noticeable deterioration in the level of functioning in everyday life

Note: Schizophrenia often involves an inability to orient oneself with reality, a withdrawal from social interactions, and a failure to integrate thoughts with emotions so that emotional expression is inappropriate. There are several subtypes of schizophrenia, including paranoid schizophrenia and those types marked by catatonia or hebephrenia.

2 : contradictory or antagonistic qualities or attitudes both parties … have exhibited schizophrenia over the desired outcome— Elizabeth Drew

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Other Words from schizophrenia

schizophrenic \ ˌskit-​sə-​ˈfre-​nik How to pronounce schizophrenia (audio) \ adjective or noun
schizophrenically \ ˌskit-​sə-​ˈfre-​ni-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce schizophrenia (audio) \ adverb

Examples of schizophrenia in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The artist battled fits of seizures and schizophrenia—likely the result of poisoning from a lifetime of working with lead paints, per the Cincinnati Art Museum. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, "Smithsonian Curator Reflects on Joe Biden’s ‘Poignant’ Inaugural Painting," 22 Jan. 2021 He eventually was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and later schizophrenia. AZCentral.com, "'A wake-up call': 500 homeless people died in metro Phoenix in first 9 months of 2020," 17 Dec. 2020 About three weeks before the shooting, Michelle Owens was diagnosed with having schizophrenia while being treated at a mental health facility in Tennessee, according to court documents. Michael Wetzel The Decatur Daily, al, "Alabama man testifies mother acted ‘weird’ before father’s fatal shooting," 22 Oct. 2020 Enoch confronted Muldrow, who has a schizophrenia diagnosis, for being too noisy in the pod’s common area. Cory Shaffer, cleveland, "Where the remaining cases in the Cuyahoga County corruption and jail investigations stand," 29 Nov. 2020 Ana Ojeda has said her 39-year-old husband had a history of schizophrenia and paranoia. David Hernandez, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Family of man fatally shot by San Diego police files excessive force claim," 20 Nov. 2020 Williams is a high school student who lives with his mother and has a history of schizophrenia and seizures, said his attorney, Assistant Public Defender Chris Anderson. Peter Nickeas, chicagotribune.com, "Attorney for woman slain in Wicker Park Walgreens questions state’s attorney’s handling of suspect’s gun burglary case," 16 Sep. 2020 For a spirited hour and a half during a stand-up-comedy livestream on Saturday, to be the child of a parent with schizophrenia was the norm. Ada Tseng, Los Angeles Times, "Comedy show ‘Normalize Everything’ aims to de-stigmatize mental illness by joking about it," 24 Dec. 2020 Kathleen Bils’ lawsuit states that her son had schizophrenia and was terrified of police. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Mother of man shot as he ran from sheriff’s deputies files wrongful death suit," 21 Dec. 2020

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

1909, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for schizophrenia

borrowed from German Schizophrenie, from schizo- schizo- + Greek phren-, phrḗn "midriff, seat of the passions, mind, wits" + German -ie -ia entry 1, after Hebephrenie hebephrenia, Paraphrenie "mental illness with delusional symptoms" — more at frenetic

Note: The German term was introduced by the Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler (1857-1939) in a lecture, "Die Prognose der Dementia Praecox (Schizophreniegruppe)," given at the annual meeting of the Deutsche Verein für Psychiatrie (German Union for Psychiatry) in Berlin on April 24, 1908. The text of the lecture, augmented by restorations abbreviated from the oral presentation, was published in the Allgemeine Zeitschrift für Psychiatrie und psychisch-gerichtliche Medizin, 56. Band (1908), pp. 436-64. The word is introduced in Bleuler's opening remarks: "Im Interesse der Diskussion möchte ich nochmals hervorheben, dass es sich bei dem Kräpelinschen Dementia praecox weder um eine notwendige Dementia, noch um eine notwendige Praecocitas handelt. Aus diesem Grunde und weil man von dem Ausdruck Dementia praecox keine adjektivischen und substantivischen Weiterbildungen machen kann, erlaube ich mir, hier das Wort Schizophrenie zur Bezeichnung des Kräpelinschen Begriffes zu benützen. Ich glaube nämlich, dass die Zerreissung oder Spaltung der psychischen Funktionen ein hervorragendes Symptom der ganzen Gruppe sei, und werde dies am anderen Orte begründen." ("In the interests of discussion I would like to emphasize once again that Kraepelin's dementia praecox is neither necessarily a form of dementia, nor a matter of early onset. On this basis, and because it is not possible to derive further adjectives or nouns from the expression dementia praecox, I allow myself here to employ the word schizophrenia to designate Kraepelin's concept. I believe that the tearing apart or splitting of psychic functions is a prominent symptom of the whole group, as I will substantiate elsewhere.") — The pronunciation of -z- as /ts/ presumably reflects the influence of the German source.

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Time Traveler for schizophrenia

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The first known use of schizophrenia was in 1909

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Last Updated

26 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Schizophrenia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/schizophrenia. Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for schizophrenia

schizophrenia

noun
schizo·​phre·​nia | \ ˌskit-sə-ˈfrē-nē-ə How to pronounce schizophrenia (audio) \

Medical Definition of schizophrenia

: a mental illness that is characterized by disturbances in thought (as delusions), perception (as hallucinations), and behavior (as disorganized speech or catatonic behavior), by a loss of emotional responsiveness and extreme apathy, and by noticeable deterioration in the level of functioning in everyday life

Note: Schizophrenia often involves an inability to orient oneself with reality, a withdrawal from social interactions, and a failure to integrate thoughts with emotions so that emotional expression is inappropriate. There are several subtypes of schizophrenia, including paranoid schizophrenia and those types marked by catatonia or hebephrenia.

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