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having catatonia, a syndrome characterized by muscular rigidity and mental stupor:
The schizophrenic remained in a catatonic state.
appearing to be in a daze or stupor; unresponsive:
She had the catatonic expression of an avant-garde model.
a person who suffers from catatonia.
a syndrome seen most frequently in schizophrenia, characterized by muscular rigidity and mental stupor, sometimes alternating with great excitement and confusion.
Historical Examples

“Visits to catatonics have increased considerably,” explained Dr. Harding.
At the Post Horace Leonard Gold

He wondered if they were catatonics under imperfect control.
At the Post Horace Leonard Gold

Between these catatonics and me, we could tell them what it’s all about.
At the Post Horace Leonard Gold

But if Zelda and these other catatonics are teaching ghosts, these ghosts are the dumbest jerks anywhere.
At the Post Horace Leonard Gold

“When these catatonics pull out, they don’t remember much or maybe nothing,” Clocker went on, referring to his charts.
At the Post Horace Leonard Gold

These catatonics don’t see or hear us, but they sure as Citation hear and see something.
At the Post Horace Leonard Gold

I talked to some of these ‘cured’ catatonics—people you probably sprung because you got all you wanted from them.
At the Post Horace Leonard Gold

a state of muscular rigidity and stupor, sometimes found in schizophrenia

1888, from medical Latin catatonia; replacing katatonia (1880s), which was formed directly from Greek kata- “down” (see cata-) + tonos “tone” (see tenet).

1899, from catatonia + -ic. As a noun from 1902.

catatonia cat·a·to·ni·a (kāt’ə-tō’nē-ə)
An abnormal condition often associated with schizophrenia and variously characterized by stupor, stereotypy, mania, and either rigidity or extreme flexibility of the limbs.
cat’a·ton’ic (-tŏn’ĭk) adj.


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