Definition of athetosis in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˌaTHəˈtōsəs/


A condition in which abnormal muscle contractions cause involuntary writhing movements. It affects some people with cerebral palsy, impairing speech and use of the hands.
Example sentences
  • Because of increased physical activity through involuntary movements, non-ambulatory children with athetosis are hyperactive and may have increased energy expenditure.



Pronunciation: /ˈaTHiˌtoid/
Example sentences
  • It can cause athetoid cerebral palsy characterized by uncontrollable tremors or writhing movements of the limbs, body and face, hearing loss, problems with vision and teeth and, sometimes, mental retardation.
  • Without treatment, severe jaundice can pose a risk of permanent brain damage resulting in athetoid cerebral palsy.
  • He gives the example of a girl with athetoid cerebral palsy with very little control over her limbs and who speaks through a specialist computer.


Pronunciation: /-ˈtätik/
Example sentences
  • Descriptions of the predominant motor disorder refer to spastic, dystonic, athetotic, and ataxic features.
  • Kernicterus is not diagnosed until around 18 months when athetotic cerebral palsy, hearing loss, and loss of upward gaze can be paired with specific MRI findings and a history of severe jaundice.
  • The hallmark of the disorder is involuntary choreiform and athetotic movements, hence it is also known as Huntington's chorea.


Late 19th century: from Greek athetos 'without position' + -osis.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ath·e·to·sis

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.