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.

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Origin of latah

Borrowed into English from Malay around 1880–85
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences 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

Medical 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.