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From French aphasie, from Ancient Greek ἀφασία (aphasía), from ἄφατος (áphatos, speechless), from ἀ- (a-, not) + φάσις (phásis, speech). Equivalent to a- +‎ -phasia.


  • IPA(key): /əˈfeɪzɪə/, /əˈfeɪʒə/


aphasia (countable and uncountable, plural aphasias)

  1. (pathology) A partial or total loss of language skills due to brain damage. Usually, damage to the left perisylvian region, including Broca's area and Wernicke's area, causes aphasia.
    • 1865, “Discussions upon Aphasia”, in Medical and Surgical Reporter[1], volume 8, page 197:
      The very disease aphasia is to most of us a new one; and we venture to say that even yet no one can give a satisfactory definition of Trousseau's new term.
    • 1865, J. T. Banks, “On the Loss of Language in Cerebral Disease”, in Dublin quarterly journal of medical science[2], volume 39, page 63:
      Of one form of aphasia we have an accurate description by Van Swieten, in his chapter on apoplexia:―"Vidi plures, qui ab apoplexiâ curati omnibus functionibus cerebri recte valebant, nisi quod deesset, hoc unicum, quod non possent vera rebus designandis vocabula invenire."
    • 1888, Rudyard Kipling, "The Conversion of Aurelian McGoggin" in Plain Tales from the Hills, Folio 2005, p. 76:
      The Doctor came over in three minutes, and heard the story. ‘It's aphasia,’ he said.

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