[ kat-uh-toh-nee-uh, -tohn-yuh ]
See synonyms for: catatoniacatatonic on

  1. 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

Other words from catatonia

  • cat·a·to·ni·ac, noun
  • cat·a·ton·ic [kat-uh-ton-ik], /ˌkæt əˈtɒn ɪk/, adjective, noun

Words Nearby catatonia Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use catatonia in a sentence

  • Recently, he’s been asked to study the robot’s effect on patients with catatonia, an affliction that causes people to freeze their movements uncontrollably.

  • 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
  • Most of these cases are usually called catatonia, depression, allied to manic-depressive insanity or allied to dementia prcox.

    Benign Stupors | August Hoch
  • After weeks of neglecting his tip sheet to study catatonia, he felt close to the payoff.

    At the Post | Horace Leonard Gold

British Dictionary definitions for catatonia


/ (ˌkætəˈtəʊnɪə) /

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

Origin of catatonia

C20: New Latin, from German Katatonie, from cata- + -tonia, from Greek tonos tension

Derived forms of catatonia

  • catatonic (ˌkætəˈtɒnɪk), 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