or tar·ent·ism

[ tar-uh n-tiz-uh m ]
/ ˈtær ənˌtɪz əm /


a mania characterized by an uncontrollable impulse to dance, especially as prevalent in southern Italy from the 15th to the 17th century, popularly attributed to the bite of the tarantula.

Origin of tarantism

From the New Latin word tarantismus, dating back to 1630–40. See Taranto, -ism
Related formstar·ant·ist, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tarantism

British Dictionary definitions for tarantism


/ (ˈtærənˌtɪzəm) /


a nervous disorder marked by uncontrollable bodily movement, widespread in S Italy during the 15th to 17th centuries: popularly thought to be caused by the bite of a tarantula

Word Origin for tarantism

C17: from New Latin tarantismus, from Taranto; see tarantula
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