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Coined by psychotherapist Peter Sifneos in 1973. The word comes from the Ancient Greek words λέξις (lexis, "diction", "word") and θυμός (thumos, "soul, as the seat of emotion, feeling, and thought") modified by an alpha-privative, literally meaning "without words for emotions".


alexithymia ‎(uncountable)

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  1. deficiency in understanding, processing, or describing emotions
    • 2008, Amy Kroska and Sarah K. Harkness, “Exploring the Role of Diagnosis in the Modified Labeling Theory of Mental Illness” in Social Psychology Quarterly LXXI, № 2 (Wrestling with Social Psychology, June 2008), page 195:
      Finally, schizophrenic disorders involve impairments of perceptions, including hallucinations and delusions, symptoms that often impair patients’ social and occupational functioning and can create alexithymia (Maggini and Raballo 2004; van ‛t Wout et al. 2007), an inability to recognize one’s own feelings.