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Psychiatry. a pervasive developmental disorder of children, characterized by impaired communication, excessive rigidity, and emotional detachment: now considered one of the .
a tendency to view life in terms of one’s own needs and desires.
(psychiatry) a developmental disorder whose symptoms include difficulty in responding conventionally to people and actions and limited use of communication

1912, from German Autismus, coined 1912 by Swiss psychiatrist Paul Bleuler (1857-1939) from comb. form of Greek autos- “self” (see auto-) + -ismos suffix of action or of state. The notion is of “morbid self-absorption.”

autism au·tism (ô’tĭz’əm)

Abnormal introversion and egocentricity; acceptance of fantasy rather than reality.

Infantile autism.

au·tis’tic (ô-tĭs’tĭk) adj.
A developmental disorder characterized by severe deficits in social interaction and communication and by abnormal behavior patterns, such as the repetition of specific movements or a tendency to focus on certain objects. Autism is evident in the first years of life. Its cause is unknown.

autistic adjective
autism [(aw-tiz-uhm)]

A serious disorder appearing in childhood and characterized by the child’s refusal to relate to other people and severely limited use of language. The cause of autism in children is unknown, but researchers generally feel that it lies in a malfunction of the central nervous system, not in the way parents have treated them or in other aspects of their environment. The term is sometimes applied, more loosely, to adults who are extremely self-absorbed and who see things in terms of their hopes and fantasies rather than realistically.

A psychiatric disorder marked by deficits in communication and social interaction.


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  • Auto antibody

    an that an organism produces against any of its own tissues, cells, or cell components. noun (pl) -bodies an antibody reacting with an antigen that is a part of the organism in which the antibody is formed autoantibody au·to·an·ti·bod·y (ô’tō-ān’tĭ-bŏd’ē) n. An antibody that attacks the cells and tissues of the organism in which it […]

  • Auto body

    noun the outer fiberglass, metal, etc. shell of an automobile as opposed to the chassis; also written autobody Examples The auto body shop did a great job fixing my car after I backed into a big rock. Word Origin 1912 Contemporary Examples Pagan said they soon after saw a luxury car pull up the auto […]

  • Auto bra

    noun See car bra

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