[ uh-fey-zhuh ]

  1. an impairment of a previously held ability to produce or understand spoken, written, or signed language, due to disease or injury of the brain.

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Origin of aphasia

First recorded in 1865–70; from Greek: literally “speechlessness,” equivalent to a- a-6 + phat(ós) “spoken” (derivative of phánai “to speak”) + -ia -ia

Words Nearby aphasia

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use aphasia in a sentence

  • Still, she suffered from aphasia, finding it difficult to speak, read and write.

    A Stroke That Hits Young Women | Nicole LaPorte | July 28, 2010 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • Meantime the doctor reported that my suspicion as to aphasia was right.

    Chronicles of Martin Hewitt | Arthur Morrison
  • Paralysis was followed by aphasia, and after acute pain, followed by a long period of apathy, death relieved him in October 1745.

    The Journal to Stella | Jonathan Swift
  • What we suffer from most,” said the spectre, when I had partly recovered from my fright, “is a kind of aphasia.

    In the Wrong Paradise | Andrew Lang
  • All impairment of speech is called aphasia, and it is called Motor aphasia when the apparatus is damaged on the side of movement.

    The Story of the Mind | James Mark Baldwin
  • The disease called aphasia, in which people begin by saying tea when they mean coffee, commonly ends in their silence.

    A Miscellany of Men | G. K. Chesterton

British Dictionary definitions for aphasia


/ (əˈfeɪzɪə) /

  1. a disorder of the central nervous system characterized by partial or total loss of the ability to communicate, esp in speech or writing: Compare alexia

Origin of aphasia

C19: via New Latin from Greek, from a- 1 + -phasia, from phanai to speak

Derived forms of aphasia

  • aphasiac or aphasic, adjective, noun

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

Scientific definitions for aphasia


[ ə-fāzhə ]

  1. Partial or total loss of the ability to articulate ideas or comprehend spoken or written language, resulting from damage to the brain that is caused by injury or disease.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.