trauma

noun
trau·ma | \ ˈtrȯ-mə also ˈtrau̇- \
plural traumas also traumata\ˈtrȯ-mə-tə alsoˈtrau̇- \

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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Other words from trauma

traumatic \trə-ˈma-tik, trȯ-, trau̇- \ adjective
traumatically \trə-ˈma-ti-k(ə-)lē, trȯ-, trau̇- \ adverb

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

In 25 years as a firefighter, Randy Globerman was called upon time and again to cope with other people's traumas and disasters. Heidi De Marco, chicagotribune.com, "The other victims: first responders to horrific disasters often suffer in solitude," 13 July 2018 The idea is for schools to implement more positive discipline practices after receiving trauma and mental health training. Emma Kate Fittes, Indianapolis Star, "A Carmel High School student's suicide raises questions over how schools discipline kids," 11 July 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 When the skin is damaged due to a trauma—my curling iron burn is the perfect example—the body begins to form new collagen fibers. Emily Rekstis, SELF, "9 Ways to Use Bio-Oil, the Drugstore Scar Treatment People Love," 22 June 2018 As survivors of trauma, the two women have learned valuable skills that give them a sense of purpose, self-confidence, marketable work experience and a paycheck. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "These one-of-a-kind textiles are empowering Louisville women," 13 July 2018 Some families missed their court dates because of confusion, often exacerbated by the effects of trauma from their home countries or other mental illness. Dara Lind, Vox, "A new study blows up Trump’s “catch-and-release” myth," 11 July 2018 Kumarasamy’s characters have managed to piece their lives back together, but her preoccupation lies with the seams — and how these are continually tested by the small, private aftershocks of trauma. Tania James, New York Times, "Debut Stories Trace the Aftershocks of the Sri Lankan Civil War," 5 July 2018 Her eyes, turned down in the corners, told chapters of trauma. Illyanna Maisonet, SFChronicle.com, "Bacalaitos as familial memory and penance," 5 July 2018

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

10 Sep 2018

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 , ˈtrau̇- \
plural traumas also traumata\-mət-ə \

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

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