Definition of trauma
traumataplay \ˈtrȯ-mə-tə also ˈtrau̇-\
1a : an injury (such as a wound) to living tissue caused by an extrinsic agentb : a disordered psychic or behavioral state resulting from severe mental or emotional stress or physical injuryc : 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
traumaticplay \trə-ˈma-tik, trȯ-, trau̇-\ adjective
traumaticallyplay \trə-ˈma-ti-k(ə-)lē, trȯ-, trau̇-\ adverb
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.
Recent Examples of trauma from the Web
The trauma of rupturing families lasted lifetimes for the enslaved—
Bezotte's cause of death is listed as blunt force trauma, Ware said.
Feminists know this, yet layered on top of the trauma of Clinton’s loss is the dread of repeating it.
More than 300 people anxiously waited outside the Emergency Hospital, one of the main trauma centers in the city.
Two inmates were injured, one with serious trauma, Wednesday afternoon at Dade Correctional Institution, one of the state’s most deadly prisons, officials confirmed.
Six of the 24 people shot between Monday and Tuesday mornings had been taken to the West Side trauma center for treatment.
Jacab Bergonia, 16, of the 100 block of Parrish Avenue, Lowell, died from blunt-force trauma injuries in a crash that occurred about 8:30 p.m. at 171st Place and Parrish Avenue, according to a coroner's office news release.
During the ceremony, Brent Jones, Seattle Public Schools’ chief strategy and partnerships officer, said the memorial forest is an apt metaphor for trauma and the power of nature to heal.
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.
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.
Origin and Etymology of trauma
Greek traumat-, trauma wound, alteration of trōma; akin to Greek titrōskein to wound, tetrainein to pierce — more at 1throw
First Known Use: circa 1693
TRAUMA Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of trauma for English Language Learners
: 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
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 traumab: a disordered psychic or behavioral state resulting from mental or emotional stress or physical injury
2: an agent, force, or mechanism that causes trauma
Seen and Heard
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