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[skit-suh-free-nee-uh, -freen-yuh] /ˌskɪt səˈfri ni ə, -ˈfrin yə/
Psychiatry.. Also called dementia praecox. a severe mental disorder characterized by some, but not necessarily all, of the following features: emotional blunting, intellectual deterioration, social isolation, disorganized speech and behavior, delusions, and hallucinations.
a state characterized by the coexistence of contradictory or incompatible elements.
Origin of schizophrenia
1910-15; schizo- + -phrenia
Related forms
[skit-suh-fren-ik] /ˌskɪt səˈfrɛn ɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective, noun
nonschizophrenic, adjective
unschizophrenic, adjective
Can be confused
neurotic, psychotic, schizophrenic, schizoid. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for schizophrenic
  • They seem to reveal a somewhat schizophrenic tension in the body politic.
  • Solutions for dealing with the problem are somewhat schizophrenic.
  • Open access makes the schizophrenic nature of academic publishing visible to the world.
  • They have also made the council somewhat schizophrenic.
  • It's the latest example of the military's schizophrenic relationship with social media.
  • The burden is not only heavy with work, but heavy with insecurity, and it throws them into a draining schizophrenic academic life.
  • But this time they clashed on the same medium-television-making for somewhat schizophrenic coverage.
  • And so continues the military's schizophrenic approach to social media.
  • They are mentally ill, often paranoid, manic-depressive or schizophrenic.
  • The strongest predictor of becoming schizophrenic is marijuana use.
British Dictionary definitions for schizophrenic


exhibiting symptoms of schizophrenia
(informal, offensive) experiencing or maintaining contradictory attitudes, emotions, etc
a schizophrenic person
Usage note
It is preferable to refer to a person as someone with a diagnosis of schizophrenia rather than as a schizophrenic. The general use of the word to mean 'contradictory' is also best avoided. Suitable alternatives are contradictory, inconsistent, incoherent


any of a group of psychotic disorders characterized by progressive deterioration of the personality, withdrawal from reality, hallucinations, delusions, social apathy, emotional instability, etc See catatonia, hebephrenia, paranoia
(informal) behaviour that appears to be motivated by contradictory or conflicting principles
Word Origin
C20: from schizo- + Greek phrēn mind + -ia
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
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Word Origin and History for schizophrenic

1912; see schizophrenia + -ic. Also from 1912 as a noun, "schizophrenic person." Transferred adjectival sense of "contradictory, inconsistent" is by 1955.



1912, from Modern Latin, literally "a splitting of the mind," from German Schizophrenie, coined in 1910 by Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler (1857-1939), from Greek skhizein "to split" (see schizo-) + phren (genitive phrenos) "diaphragm, heart, mind," of unknown origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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schizophrenic in Medicine

schizophrenic schiz·o·phren·ic (skĭt'sə-frěn'ĭk)
Of, relating to, or affected by schizophrenia. n.
One who is affected with schizophrenia.

schizophrenia schiz·o·phre·ni·a (skĭt'sə-frē'nē-ə, -frěn'ē-ə)
Any of a group of psychotic disorders usually characterized by withdrawal from reality, illogical patterns of thinking, delusions, and hallucinations, and accompanied in varying degrees by other emotional, behavioral, or intellectual disturbances. Schizophrenia is often associated with dopamine imbalances in the brain and defects of the frontal lobe and may have an underlying genetic cause.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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schizophrenic in Science
  (skĭt'sə-frē'nē-ə, skĭt'sə-)   
Any of a group of psychiatric disorders characterized by withdrawal from reality, illogical patterns of thinking, delusions, hallucinations, and psychotic behavior. Schizophrenia is associated with an imbalance of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain and may have an underlying genetic cause.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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schizophrenic in Culture
schizophrenia [(skit-suh-free-nee-uh, skit-suh-fren-ee-uh)]

A form of psychosis marked by a strong tendency to dissociate oneself from reality. Schizophrenia is often characterized by hallucinations, delusions, and inappropriate reactions to situations. The word schizophrenia is often used informally as well as scientifically to indicate a split personality.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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