Meaning of autokinesis in English:


Pronunciation /ˌɔːtə(ʊ)kɪˈniːsɪs/ /ˌɔːtə(ʊ)kʌɪˈniːsɪs/


  • 1rare Voluntary movement (of a muscle or the body).

  • 2Philosophy
    The self-generated or spontaneous motion of the soul.

  • 3An optical illusion in which a small stationary object in a uniform background, especially a light source in an otherwise dark field, appears to move.

    The phenomenon was first noted by A. von Humboldt in 1799, when observing stars through a telescope.


Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Robley Dunglison (1798–1869), physician and medical writer. Partly from Hellenistic Greek αὐτοκίνησις self-motion, and partly from auto- + -kinesis.