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[kat-uh-toh-nee-uh, -tohn-yuh] /ˌkæt əˈtoʊ ni ə, -ˈtoʊn yə/
noun, Psychiatry.
a syndrome seen most frequently in schizophrenia, characterized by muscular rigidity and mental stupor, sometimes alternating with great excitement and confusion.
Origin of catatonia
First recorded in 1915-20; cata- + -tonia
Related forms
catatoniac, noun
[kat-uh-ton-ik] /ˌkæt əˈtɒn ɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for catatonia
Historical Examples
  • It is true that it is frequent in catatonia but is not exclusively there.

    Benign Stupors August Hoch
  • Taxonomic zeal began to blind vision when Kahlbaum formulated his "catatonia" and included stupor in the symptom complex.

    Benign Stupors August Hoch
  • Fortunately Kahlbaum prevented serious error by leaving the prognosis of his catatonia open.

    Benign Stupors August Hoch
  • Then you can check your notes and decide if it's schizophrenia, or catatonia, or psychasthenia, or what not.

    A Thought For Tomorrow Robert E. Gilbert
British Dictionary definitions for catatonia


a state of muscular rigidity and stupor, sometimes found in schizophrenia
Derived Forms
catatonic (ˌkætəˈtɒnɪk) adjective, noun
Word Origin
C20: New Latin, from German Katatonie, from cata- + -tonia, from Greek tonos tension
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for catatonia

1888, from medical Latin catatonia; replacing katatonia (1880s), which was formed directly from Greek kata- "down" (see cata-) + tonos "tone" (see tenet).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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catatonia in Medicine

catatonia cat·a·to·ni·a (kāt'ə-tō'nē-ə)
An abnormal condition often associated with schizophrenia and variously characterized by stupor, stereotypy, mania, and either rigidity or extreme flexibility of the limbs.

cat'a·ton'ic (-tŏn'ĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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