Stockholm syndrome

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Calque of Swedish Norrmalmstorgssyndromet. Named after the robbery of Kreditbanken at the Norrmalmstorg square in Stockholm, Sweden in which the bank robbers held bank employees hostage from August 23 to August 28, 1973. Originally, this term was directly translated from Swedish Norrmalmstorgssyndromet as the Norrmalmstorg syndrome, but later Norrmalmstorg was replaced with Stockholm, a word far more commonly known outside Sweden.


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Stockholm syndrome (uncountable)

  1. A psychological condition in which a hostage emotionally bonds to his or her captor.
    • 2001, Eoin Colfer, Artemis Fowl, page 259:
      You're suffering from what humans call Stockholm Syndrome: you have bonded with your captors.
    • 2006 May 28, Cape Times:
      Natascha Kampusch, the 18 year old Austrian woman who escaped from her kidnapper last week after eight years in captivity, [] is thought to be suffering from an extreme version of Stockholm syndrome, in which victims begin to associate and sympathise with their attackers.





Stockholm syndrome (third-person singular simple present Stockholm syndromes, present participle Stockholm syndroming, simple past and past participle Stockholm syndromed)

  1. (transitive, informal) To cause someone to become affected by Stockholm syndrome.
    • 2015 July 17, Sarah Lyall, “Review: In ’Pretty Is,’ Grown Friends Recall Being Kidnapped”, in The New York Times[1], New York, N.Y.: The New York Times Company, →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 2022-06-16:
      The girls, it turns out, found the experience oddly positive, and not because they were brainwashed or Stockholm syndromed.
    • 2021 January 17, Cathal Kelly, “The curious case of all the Bills fans who are not from Buffalo”, in The Globe and Mail[2], Toronto, O.N.: The Woodbridge Company, →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 2022-08-14:
      Eventually, you Stockholm Syndromed yourself into believing that what happened to the Bills mattered to your life. Off the top of my head, I can still list more members of the 1990-93 Super Bowl-averse Bills than kids in my Grade 8 class.
    • 2022 March 6, “AA Gill Award winner 2022: introducing Sanjiv Mistry”, in The Times[3], London: News UK, →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 22 June 2023:
      Britannia's is the best because they understand that a bunny is as much a feat of engineering as cooking. The quarter loaf of bread must, must be of the generic, mass-produced sort (not a farmhouse loaf, definitely not a milk bread, just standard unsliced white), with the light crust a dam wall holding in a reservoir of rich mutton curry that's Stockholm-syndroming massive potato halves, the sauce riveted with cloves and singing to the tune of ginger and curry leaves, the whole edible edifice capped with a dome built of the belly of the bread.