latah

or la·ta

[ lah-tuh ]
/ ˈlɑ tə /
|

noun

a pattern of neurotic behavior, usually induced by a startle, first discovered in Malaya, and characterized by the compulsive imitation of the actions and words of others.

Nearby words

  1. lastingly,
  2. lastly,
  3. lasègue's sign,
  4. lat,
  5. lat.,
  6. latakia,
  7. latam,
  8. latch,
  9. latch hook,
  10. latch needle

Origin of latah

Borrowed into English from Malay around 1880–85

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for latah


British Dictionary definitions for latah

latah

/ (ˈlɑːtə) /

noun

a psychological condition, observed esp in Malaysian cultures, in which an individual, after experiencing a shock, becomes anxious and suggestible, often imitating the actions of another person

Word Origin for latah

C19: from Malay

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 latah

latah

[ lätə ]

n.

A nervous disorder characterized by an exaggerated physical response to being startled or to unexpected suggestion.

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