or cat·a·lep·sis


noun Pathology, Psychiatry.

a physical condition usually associated with catatonic schizophrenia, characterized by suspension of sensation, muscular rigidity, fixity of posture, and often by loss of contact with environment.

Nearby words

  1. catagenesis,
  2. catagenetic,
  3. catalan,
  4. catalase,
  5. catalectic,
  6. cataleptic,
  7. catalexis,
  8. catalin,
  9. catalina island,
  10. catalo

Origin of catalepsy

1350–1400; < Medieval Latin catalēpsia, variant of Late Latin catalēpsis < Greek katálēpsis seizure (akin to katalambánein to hold down), equivalent to kata- cata- + lêpsis a grasping (lēp-, variant stem of lambánein to grasp + -sis -sis); replacing Middle English cathalempsia < Medieval Latin

Related formscat·a·lep·tic, adjective, nouncat·a·lep·ti·cal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cataleptic

British Dictionary definitions for cataleptic



a state of prolonged rigid posture, occurring for example in schizophrenia or in hypnotic trances
Derived Formscataleptic, adjective

Word Origin for catalepsy

C16: from Medieval Latin catalēpsia, variant of Late Latin catalēpsis, from Greek katalēpsis, literally: a seizing, from katalambanein to hold down, from kata- down + lambanein to grasp

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

Word Origin and History for cataleptic
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for cataleptic




A condition that occurs in a variety of physical and psychological disorders and is characterized by lack of response to external stimuli and by muscular rigidity, so that the limbs remain in whatever position they are placed.
Related formscat′a•leptic (kăt′l-ĕptĭk)′a•leptoid′ adj.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.