- an inability to speak, due to a physical defect, conscious refusal, or psychogenic inhibition.
Origin of mutism
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for mutism
The most constant feature was her mutism, but even that was a few times interrupted.
Her mutism and refusal of food she was unable to account for.
Later, this was followed by mutism, refusal to eat, and stupor.Studies in Forensic Psychiatry
Mutism, as used in psychiatry, is an abnormal inhibition to speech.Applied Psychology for Nurses
Mary F. Porter
From the description this again seems to have been a typical stupor (immobility, mutism, tendency to catalepsy, rigidity).
- the state of being mute
- a refusal to speak although the mechanism of speech is not damaged
- the lack of development of speech, due usually to early deafness
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 mutism
"state of being mute," 1824, from French mutisme (1741), from Latin mutus (see mute (adj.)).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- Absence of the faculty of speech.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.