A psychological condition marked by severe decreases or increases of movement. It is variously characterized by stupor, stereotypy, mutism, catalepsy, agitation, and extreme flexibility or rigidity of the limbs and is most often associated with schizophrenia.
[New Latin, from German Katatonie, from Greek katatonos, stretching tight, from katateinein, to stretch tight : kata-, intensive pref.; see CATA- + teinein, to stretch; see ten- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.