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[sin-uh s-thee-zhuh, -zhee-uh, -zee-uh] /ˌsɪn əsˈθi ʒə, -ʒi ə, -zi ə/
a sensation produced in one modality when a stimulus is applied to another modality, as when the hearing of a certain sound induces the visualization of a certain color.
Also, synaesthesia.
1890-95; < Neo-Latin; see syn-, esthesia
Related forms
[sin-uh s-theet] /ˈsɪn əsˌθit/ (Show IPA),
[sin-uh s-thet-ik] /ˌsɪn əsˈθɛt ɪk/ (Show IPA),
nonsynesthetic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for synesthesia
  • He suffered a series of early epileptic fits that he believes brought on his synesthesia.
  • People with synesthesia often have strong feelings about the qualities of various words or letters.
  • New research suggests people with synesthesia may be better problem solvers.
  • It has also provided suggestive insights into the physiological cause of such mystifying syndromes as synesthesia and autism.
  • She also has synesthesia, which has been intensified by her blindness.
  • Neuroscientists think people with synesthesia might open a window into the ultimate mystery of human consciousness.
  • People with a bizarre condition called synesthesia see sound, smell colors, and taste shapes.
  • Some abusers experience intense synesthesia, an effect that causes the abusers' senses to become confused.
British Dictionary definitions for synesthesia


(physiol) a sensation experienced in a part of the body other than the part stimulated
(psychol) the subjective sensation of a sense other than the one being stimulated. For example, a sound may evoke sensations of colour
Derived Forms
synaesthetic, (US) synesthetic (ˌsɪniːsˈθɛtɪk) adjective
Word Origin
from New Latin, from syn- + -esthesia, from Greek aisthēsis sensation


the usual US spelling of synaesthesia
Derived Forms
synesthetic (ˌsɪniːsˈθɛtɪk) 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
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synesthesia in Medicine

synesthesia syn·es·the·sia (sĭn'ĭs-thē'zhə)

  1. A condition in which one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another, as when the hearing of a sound produces the visualization of a color.

  2. A sensation felt in one part of the body as a result of stimulus that is applied to another, as in referred pain.

syn'es·thet'ic (-thět'ĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for synesthesia

a condition in which one type of sensory stimulation creates perception in another sense. The most common form of synesthesia is called "coloured hearing," where a person experiences a visual sensation when receiving an auditory signal (for example, hearing the musical tone C and seeing the colour red). Although tone-colour relationships are not identical for all people, there are general uniformities: the deeper a musical note, the darker the colour. Similar colour perceptions, called photisms, may accompany sensations of taste, touch, pain, smell, or temperature. Synesthesia has been used as a literary device by poets as diverse as Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Rimbaud, Hart Crane, and Dame Edith Sitwell.

Learn more about synesthesia with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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