Psychiatry. a pervasive developmental disorder of children, characterized by impaired communication, excessive rigidity, and emotional detachment: now considered one of the autism spectrum disorders.
a tendency to view life in terms of one's own needs and desires.

1910–15; aut- + -ism

autist, noun
autistic [aw-tis-tik] , adjective
autistically, adverb
unautistic, adjective

artistic, autistic. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To autistically
World English Dictionary
autism (ˈɔːtɪzəm)
psychiatry abnormal self-absorption, usually affecting children, characterized by lack of response to people and actions and limited ability to communicate
[C20: from Greek autos self + -ism]
usage  Rather than talking about an autistic or autistics, it is better to use phrases such as a person with autism and people with autism
adj, —n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

Ger. Autismus, coined 1912 by Swiss psychiatrist Paul Bleuler (1857-1939) from Gk. autos- "self" (comb. form) + -ismos suffix of action or of state.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

autism au·tism (ô'tĭz'əm)

  1. Abnormal introversion and egocentricity; acceptance of fantasy rather than reality.

  2. Infantile autism.

au·tis'tic (ô-tĭs'tĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Science Dictionary
autism   (ô'tĭz'əm)  Pronunciation Key 
A developmental disorder characterized by severe deficits in social interaction and communication and by abnormal behavior patterns, such as the repetition of specific movements or a tendency to focus on certain objects. Autism is evident in the first years of life. Its cause is unknown.

autistic adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
autism [(aw-tiz-uhm)]

A serious disorder appearing in childhood and characterized by the child's refusal to relate to other people and severely limited use of language. The cause of autism in children is unknown, but researchers generally feel that it lies in a malfunction of the central nervous system, not in the way parents have treated them or in other aspects of their environment. The term is sometimes applied, more loosely, to adults who are extremely self-absorbed and who see things in terms of their hopes and fantasies rather than realistically.

autism definition

A psychiatric disorder marked by deficits in communication and social interaction.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Related Words
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature