trauma

noun
trau·​ma | \ ˈtrȯ-mə How to pronounce trauma (audio) also ˈtrau̇- How to pronounce trauma (audio) \
plural traumas also traumata\ ˈtrȯ-​mə-​tə also  ˈtrau̇-​ How to pronounce traumata (audio) \

Definition of trauma

1a : an injury (such as a wound) to living tissue caused by an extrinsic agent
b : a disordered psychic or behavioral state resulting from severe mental or emotional stress or physical injury
c : an emotional upset the personal trauma of an executive who is not living up to his own expectations— Karen W. Arenson
2 : an agent, force, or mechanism that causes trauma

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Did You Know?

Trauma is the Greek word for "wound". Although the Greeks used the term only for physical injuries, nowadays trauma is just as likely to refer to emotional wounds. We now know that a traumatic event can leave psychological symptoms long after any physical injuries have healed. The psychological reaction to emotional trauma now has an established name: post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. It usually occurs after an extremely stressful event, such as wartime combat, a natural disaster, or sexual or physical abuse; its symptoms include depression, anxiety, flashbacks, and recurring nightmares.

Examples of trauma in a Sentence

She never fully recovered from the traumas she suffered during her childhood. She never fully recovered from the trauma of her experiences. an accident victim with severe head trauma repeated trauma to a knee The accident victim sustained multiple traumas.
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Recent Examples on the Web

When Jane recounts her trauma, the book steers around the details, indicating either a zone of privacy or the limits of speech. Christine Smallwood, Harper's magazine, "Novel, Essay, Poem," 16 Sep. 2019 But its messages—about believing victims, understanding their trauma, and offering them the dignity of your attention—are important, and there's a slow-building power to the series' procedural structure. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "What to Watch (and Skip) This Weekend on Netflix and in Theaters," 13 Sep. 2019 That's really a pity because Fanning's Lilly is quite a snooze, a blond blank slate who seems to lack much interiority or even scars from the trauma she's suffered from being abandoned by her parents. Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Sweetness in the Belly': Film Review | TIFF 2019," 6 Sep. 2019 The separations have been widely criticized, and children’s health advocates have said the kids likely suffered trauma. Colleen Long, Time, "Government Watchdog: Migrant Children Separated From Parents at Border Experiencing Serious Mental Health Problems," 4 Sep. 2019 And some suffered physical symptoms because of their mental trauma, clinicians reported to investigators with a government watchdog. Anchorage Daily News, "‘Can’t feel my heart:’ IG says separated kids traumatized," 4 Sep. 2019 Because Gen X is nothing if not willing to inflict its traumas on its children, and Netflix is here to help. Wired, "Netflix Re-Ups the Puppetry—and Perturbations—of Dark Crystal," 30 Aug. 2019 His own trauma, disillusion, and secrets contribute to some welcome plot tension, which Kait and her primary squadmate Del must contend with. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Gears of War 5 hands-on: A new blockbuster for the game-subscription era," 30 Aug. 2019 Since McClain’s retirement, players have settled a class-action lawsuit with the NFL meant to provide support for ex-players dealing with the lasting impact of head trauma caused by football. Henry Mckenna, For The Win, "Retired NFL fullback Le'Ron McClain pleads for help: 'I have to get my head checked'," 25 Aug. 2019

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

circa 1693, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for trauma

Greek traumat-, trauma wound, alteration of trōma; akin to Greek titrōskein to wound, tetrainein to pierce — more at throw entry 1

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Statistics for trauma

Last Updated

8 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for trauma

The first known use of trauma was circa 1693

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More Definitions for trauma

trauma

noun

English Language Learners Definition of trauma

: a very difficult or unpleasant experience that causes someone to have mental or emotional problems usually for a long time
medical : a serious injury to a person's body

trauma

noun
trau·​ma | \ ˈtrȯ-mə How to pronounce trauma (audio) , ˈtrau̇- How to pronounce trauma (audio) \
plural traumas also traumata\ -​mət-​ə How to pronounce traumata (audio) \

Medical Definition of trauma

1a : an injury (as a wound) to living tissue caused by an extrinsic agent surgical trauma the intra-abdominal organs at greatest risk to athletic trauma are the spleen, pancreas, and kidney— M. R. Eichelberger — see blunt trauma
b : a disordered psychic or behavioral state resulting from mental or emotional stress or physical injury
2 : an agent, force, or mechanism that causes trauma

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More from Merriam-Webster on trauma

Spanish Central: Translation of trauma

Nglish: Translation of trauma for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of trauma for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about trauma

Comments on trauma

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