[ 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

cat·a·to·ni·ac, nouncat·a·ton·ic [kat-uh-ton-ik] /ˌkæt əˈtɒn ɪk/, adjective, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for catatonia

  • It is true that it is frequent in catatonia but is not exclusively there.

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

    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
  • 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


/ (ˌkætəˈtəʊnɪə) /


a state of muscular rigidity and stupor, sometimes found in schizophrenia

Derived Forms

catatonic (ˌkætəˈtɒnɪk), adjective, noun

Word Origin for catatonia

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

Medicine definitions for catatonia


[ kăt′ə-tōnē-ə ]


An abnormal condition often associated with schizophrenia and variously characterized by stupor, stereotypy, mania, and either rigidity or extreme flexibility of the limbs.

Related forms

cat′a•tonic (-tŏnĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.