Meaning of autism in English:



mass noun
  • A developmental disorder of variable severity that is characterized by difficulty in social interaction and communication and by restricted or repetitive patterns of thought and behaviour.

    • ‘Children with conditions like cerebral palsy, autism and learning difficulties benefit.’
    • ‘They are reported to have discovered a possible link between fatty acid deficiency and childhood autism.’
    • ‘Again, even if such peptides are discovered, their relationship to autism remains entirely speculative.’
    • ‘Public awareness of autism has increased over recent years, yet early recognition of autism remains variable.’
    • ‘It's crucial to have a clear, early diagnosis of autism if sufferers and their families are to be helped.’
    • ‘Long before its formal recognition in 1943, the concept of autism appeared in folklore.’
    • ‘But when he was a toddler, he was diagnosed as having a relatively mild form of autism.’
    • ‘It may also play a role in disorders such as autism, where people have difficulties forming social bonds.’
    • ‘Eight months ago, he joined the growing epidemic of children diagnosed with autism.’


Early 20th century (originally with reference to a condition in which fantasy dominates over reality, regarded as a symptom of schizophrenia and other disorders): from Greek autos ‘self’ + -ism.