Definition of mutism in English:


Syllabification: mut·ism
Pronunciation: /ˈmyo͞otˌizəm


  • 1Inability to speak, typically as a result of congenital deafness or brain damage.
    More example sentences
    • Damage can occur to the basal ganglia or to the frontal lobes (behind the brow) which control initiation of speech, causing mutism when damaged.
  • 1.1 (in full elective mutism) Unwillingness or refusal to speak, arising from psychological causes such as depression or trauma.
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    • A 14-year-old boy with a pre-existing history of autism exhibited stupor with mutism, akinesia, rigidity, waxy flexibility, posturing, facial grimacing and involuntary movements of the upper extremities.
    • Selective mutism is an anxiety disorder that is usually specific to certain settings, such as a school classroom.
    • Others suffered from psychoneurotic symptoms alone - mutism, loss of speech, hysterical twitching, and uncontrollable jerkings of arms and legs.


early 19th century: from French mutisme, from Latin mutus 'mute'.

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