[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.

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

Historical Examples of glossolalia

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


    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

glossolalia in Medicine




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.