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mutism Syllabification: mut·ism
Pronunciation: /ˈmyo͞odˌizəm/

Definition of mutism in English:


1Inability to speak, typically as a result of congenital deafness or brain damage.
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.
Example sentences
  • 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'.

Definition of mutism in:
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