[ som-nam-byuh-liz-uh m, suh m- ]
/ sɒmˈnæm byəˌlɪz əm, səm- /


Nearby words

  1. sommerfeld, arnold johannes wilhelm,
  2. somnambulance,
  3. somnambulant,
  4. somnambulate,
  5. somnambulation,
  6. somni-,
  7. somnifacient,
  8. somniferous,
  9. somniferously,
  10. somnific

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

Examples from the Web for somnambulism

British Dictionary definitions for somnambulism


/ (sɒmˈnæmbjʊˌlɪzəm) /


a condition that is characterized by walking while asleep or in a hypnotic tranceAlso called: noctambulism
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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for somnambulism


[ sŏm-nămbyə-lĭz′əm ]


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.