noun Pathology, Psychiatry.
- a physical condition usually associated with catatonic schizophrenia, characterized by suspension of sensation, muscular rigidity, fixity of posture, and often by loss of contact with environment.
- a state of prolonged rigid posture, occurring for example in schizophrenia or in hypnotic trances
1680s, from Late Latin catalepticus, from Greek kataleptikos, from kataleptos (see catalepsy). The noun meaning “one affected by catalepsy” is from 1851.
late 14c., cathalempsia, from Medieval Latin catalepsia, from Late Latin catalepsis, from Greek katalepsis “a seizure, a seizing upon, a taking possession,” from kataleptos “seized,” from katalambanein “to seize upon,” from kata- “down” (see cata-) + lambanein “to take” (see analemma).
- A condition that occurs in a variety of physical and psychological disorders and is characterized by lack of response to external stimuli and by muscular rigidity, so that the limbs remain in whatever position they are placed.