a mental disorder characterized by inability to take part in typical social interactions and intense self-absorption and often accompanied by various other symptoms eg language dysfunctions and repeated behavior
- (psychiatry) an abnormal absorption using the self; marked by interaction disorders and short attention period and failure to treat others as individuals
A spectrum of neuropsychiatric problems characterized by deficits in social conversation and interaction, and strange and repetitive behavior. Some, not all, individuals with autism are non-verbal.
1912, from German Autismus, coined 1912 by Swiss doctor Paul Bleuler (1857-1939) from brush. kind of Greek autos- "self" (see auto-) + -ismos suffix of action or of condition. The notion is of "morbid self-absorption."