• synonyms


[som-nam-byuh-liz-uh m, suh m-]
See more synonyms for somnambulism on Thesaurus.com
  1. sleepwalking.
Show More

Origin of somnambulism

1790–1800; < New Latin somnambulismus, equivalent to somn(us) sleep + ambul(āre) to walk + -ismus -ism
Related formssom·nam·bu·list, nounsom·nam·bu·lis·tic, adjectivesem·i·som·nam·bu·lis·tic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for somnambulism

Historical Examples

  • There was something frightful in this somnambulism of drunkenness.

    Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine -- Volume 57, No. 351, January 1845


  • "Mr. Phelps tells me you suffer from somnambulism," the doctor went on.

    The Ivory Snuff Box

    Arnold Fredericks

  • But she had not for some time discovered any signs of somnambulism.

    David Elginbrod

    George MacDonald

  • It would seem, besides, that she was naturally disposed to somnambulism.

    David Elginbrod

    George MacDonald

  • But somnambulism, while arising in sleep, is not at all a feature of sleep.


    Hugo Mnsterberg

British Dictionary definitions for somnambulism


  1. a condition that is characterized by walking while asleep or in a hypnotic tranceAlso called: noctambulism
Show More
Derived Formssomnambulist, nounsomnambulistic, adjective
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 somnambulism


1786, "walking in one's sleep or under hypnosis," from French somnambulisme, from Modern Latin somnambulus "sleepwalker," from Latin somnus "sleep" (see Somnus) + ambulare "to walk" (see amble (v.)).

Originally brought into use during the excitement over "animal magnetism;" it won out over noctambulation. A stack of related words came into use early 19c., e.g. somnambule "sleepwalker" (1837, from French somnambule, 1690s), earlier somnambulator (1803); as adjectives, somnambulary (1827), somnambular (1820).

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

somnambulism in Medicine


  1. sleepwalking
Show More
Related formssom•nam′bu•listic adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.