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From German Autismus, coined by Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler, first usage dated to 1907 attributed by Carl Jung as an alternative of his for "auto-erotism",[1] although Bleuler himself differentiates the terms in his book Dementia Praecox, first published 1911.[2] From Ancient Greek αὐτός (autós, self) + -ισμός (-ismós, -ism).[3]



autism (usually uncountable, plural autisms)

  1. (clinical psychology) A pervasive neurological condition that is observable in early childhood and persists throughout the lifespan, characterised by atypical communication, language development, eye contact, and sensory experiences.
    • 2013 June 29, “A punch in the gut”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8842, page 72-3:
      Mostly, the microbiome is beneficial. It helps with digestion and enables people to extract a lot more calories from their food than would otherwise be possible. Research over the past few years, however, has implicated it in diseases from atherosclerosis to asthma to autism.
  2. (clinical psychology) Synonym of autism spectrum (disorder); generalization of the specific to a range.
  3. (historical, clinical psychology, now medically obsolete) A diagnosis involving a pathological tendency to engage in self-centered fantasy thinking, historically considered a symptom of insanity and/or schizophrenia.
  4. (Internet slang, offensive, derogatory, often self-deprecating) Abnormal and unhealthy focus or persistence, stereotypically coupled with low self-awareness and unhealthy hatred of opposition or criticism.



(the specific, instead of the generalized range):


(autism spectrum):

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  1. ^ Sigmund Freud; Carl Jung (1974)Ralph Manheim, R.F.C. Hull, transl.; , William McGuire, editor, The Freud/Jung Letters, 1st edition, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, →ISBN, 24j, pages 44-5:
    Bleuler still misses a clear definition of autoerotism and its specifically psychological effects. He has, however, accepted the concept for his Dem. pr. contribution to Aschaffenburg’s Handbook. He doesn't want to say autoerotism (for reasons we all know), but prefers “autism” or “ipsism.” I have already got accustomed to “autoerotism.”
  2. ^ Paul Eugen Bleuler (1911), chapter 1, in Gustav Aschaffenburg, editor, Dementia Praecox oder Gruppe der Schizophrenien [Dementia Praecox or the Group of Schizophrenias]‎[1], Leipzig and Vienna: Franz Deuticke, archived from the original on 2015-04-24 08:07:00.206331, B.α, page 52
  3. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2022), “autism”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.




From French autisme


autism n (uncountable)

  1. autism