latah

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Malay latah.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

latah ‎(plural latahs)

  1. (pathology) A condition found in Malaysia and nearby areas characterised by extreme suggestibility; also, a person suffering from this malady.
    • 1959, William Burroughs, Naked Lunch:
      Latah is a condition occurring in Southeast Asia. Otherwise sane, Latahs compulsively imitate every motion once their attention is attracted by snapping the fingers or calling sharply.
    • 1989, Anthony Burgess, The Devil's Mode:
      It seemed to Sir Edwin that this patient, a young man who had never set foot outside England, was suffering from an ailment known as latah – common enough in the Malay archipelago but hitherto unknown, so far as the clinical records – admittedly not very reliable – could advise, in the temperate clime of northern Europe.
    • 2003, Wen-Shing Tseng, Clinician's Guide to Cultural Psychiatry, p. 116:
      Actually, there is a debate among scholars as to whether the latah condition should be regarded as a culture-related "mental disorder" or merely as an "unusual behavior response" found in some cultures.

Malay[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

latah

  1. (pathology) latah (A condition found in Malaysia and nearby areas characterised by extreme suggestibility)