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autism Syllabification: au·tism
Pronunciation: /ˈôˌtizəm/

Definition of autism in English:


A mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts.
Example sentences
  • Children with autism have difficulty using their imagination, communicating or interacting.
  • Even for the most able children and young people with autism, their disability presents enormous challenges.
  • People with autism have difficulty filtering what they see around them and are unable to work out what is important.


Example sentences
  • But if many virtues are inaccessible to an autist, so too are many vices.
  • It's an unsatisfactory term, because an autist's sense of self is almost as rudimentary as his sense of other people.
  • As things stand in British arts, only an autist would dare to profess disinterest in diversity.


Early 20th century (originally with reference to a condition in which fantasy dominates over reality, regarded as a symptom of schizophrenia and other disorders): from Greek autos 'self' + -ism.

Definition of autism in:
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