Definition of alienist in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈeɪlɪənɪst/


1 former term for psychiatrist.
Example sentences
  • On to this Stoker pasted some new-fangled psychiatric theory, derived from the French alienist Charcot, one of Freud's main precursors.
  • Theorists in the first period included travelers, military physicians, and alienists who examined Algerian lunatics and collectively found them less prone to madness than civilized Europeans.
  • On this side were the ex-physician to the viceroy of Egypt, Franz Pruner-Bey, the former Martinique physician Etienne Rufz de Lavison, and the alienist Louis-Jean Delasiauve.
1.1chiefly US A psychiatrist who assesses the competence of a defendant in a law court.
Example sentences
  • And now I know from what sources some of the criminal court alienists of today were derived.
  • The alienist thus comes into court with a friendly feeling towards the lawyers for the defense together with a sympathy for the accused.
  • The court decided to continue the hearing for another week, during which time the testimony of the alienists will be put in the hands of other medical men, who will in turn observe Mrs. Gage.


Mid 19th century: from French aliéniste, based on Latin alienus 'of another' (see alien).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: alien|ist

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