latah

or la·ta

[lah-tuh]
noun
  1. 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.

Origin of latah

Borrowed into English from Malay around 1880–85
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Examples from the Web for latah

Historical Examples of latah


British Dictionary definitions for latah

latah

noun
  1. 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

latah in Medicine

latah

[lätə]
n.
  1. 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.