[glos-uh-ley-lee-uh, glaw-suh-]


incomprehensible speech in an imaginary language, sometimes occurring in a trance state, an episode of religious ecstasy, or schizophrenia.

Nearby words

  1. glossoepiglottic,
  2. glossographer,
  3. glossographical,
  4. glossography,
  5. glossohyal,
  6. glossological,
  7. glossology,
  8. glossopathy,
  9. glossopharyngeal,
  10. glossopharyngeal breathing

Origin of glossolalia

First recorded in 1875–80; glosso- + -lalia

Related formsglos·sol·a·list [glo-sol-uh-list, glaw-] /glɒˈsɒl ə lɪst, glɔ-/, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for glossolalia

  • Besides, we find in Lola's case a high degree of glossolalia.

    Lola|Henny Kindermann

British Dictionary definitions for glossolalia



another term for gift of tongues
psychol babbling in a nonexistent language

Word Origin for glossolalia

C19: New Latin, from glosso- + Greek lalein to speak, babble

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 glossolalia



"speaking in tongues," 1879, from Greek glossa "tongue, language" (see gloss (n.2)) + lalia "talk, prattle, a speaking," from lalein "to speak, prattle," of echoic origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for glossolalia




Fabricated, nonmeaningful speech, especially associated with trances or certain schizophrenic syndromes.

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