insanity[in san′ə tē]
- The definition of insanity is having a serious mental illness or being extremely foolish.
- An example of insanity is a personality disorder.
- An example of insanity is jumping out of an airplane without a parachute.
- the state of being insane; mental illness or derangement, usually excluding amentia: not a technical term
- Law any form or degree of mental derangement or unsoundness of mind, permanent or temporary, that makes a person incapable of what is regarded legally as normal, rational conduct or judgment: it usually implies a need for hospitalization
- great folly; extreme senselessness
Origin of insanityClassical Latin insanitas ; from insanus
- Severe mental illness or derangement. Not used in psychiatric diagnosis.
- Law a. Unsoundness of mind sufficient to render a person unfit to maintain a contractual or other legal relationship or sufficient to warrant commitment to a mental health facility.b. Incapacity to form the criminal intent necessary for legal responsibility, as when a mental disorder prevents a person from knowing the difference between right and wrong.c. Incapacity because of a mental disorder to participate adequately as a defendant in criminal proceedings or to understand the imposition of a criminal punishment, particularly the death penalty.
- a. Extreme foolishness or irrationality: “The insanity of sending troops into Russia when European peace looked imminent horrified him” (Mary V. Dearborn).b. Something that is extremely foolish, distinctly irrational, or wildly excited: “twisted forms of musical insanity” (Christopher J. Kelter).
abalienation Obsolete, insanity. acromania a violent form of mania; incurable insanity. amentia 1. a congenital condition of low intelligence. 2. a form of temporary insanity. Cf. dementia. amenty Obsolete, amentia. bedlamism behavior characteristic of insanity. See also order and disorder. bedlamite a mental patient. catatonia one of various forms of schizophrenia characterized by stupor, sometimes alternating with excited behavior and mechanical, repetitive behavior, accompanied by muscular rigidity. —catatonic, n., adj. delirium a state of maniacal excitement characterized by restless behavior, confused speech, and sometimes hallucinations. dementia madness or insanity. Cf. amentia. dementia praecox schizophrenia. demonianism 1. Obsolete, the doctrine of demoniac possession. 2. Archaic. demonomania. —demonian, n., adj. demonomania Medicine. a monomania in which a person believes he is possessed of devils. Also called demonopathy. diabolepsy Medicine, Obsolete, a state in which a person believes he is possessed by a devil or has been endowed with supernatural powers. hallucinosis a disordered mental condition in which the sufferer is prone to hallucinations. hebephrenia a form of insanity or dementia praecox that can appear at puberty, characterized by foolish behavior and deterioration of the mental faculties. hypermania an acute mania. lunacy 1. periodic insanity, once thought to be caused by the phases of the moon. 2. any form of insanity. —lunatic, adj. lypemania an abnormal tendency toward deep melancholy. lyssophobia an abnormal fear of becoming insane. maniaphobia an abnormal fear of madness. megalomania 1. Medicine. a form of mental illness characterized by the unreasonable conviction in the patient of his own greatness, goodness, power, or wealth. 2. an obsession with extravagant or grand actions. — megalomaniac, n., adj. —megalomaniacal, adj. melancholia a condition of abnormal gloom or depression, often of an intensity to become a form of insanity. —melancholiac, n., adj. —melancholie, n., adj. melancholian Obsolete, a person suffering from melancholia; a melancholiac. narcosynthesis a form of treatment for mental illness that involves placing the patient under the influence of a narcotic. orthosis the process of correcting bodily or mental distortion. paranoia a mental disorder characterized by behavior that stems from an elaborately constructed system of delusions of persecution and grandeur. —paranoiac, n. —paranoid, adj. paranoidism a state resembling paranoia. pathomania moral insanity. psychosis any severe mental disorder or disease. —psychotic, n., adj. schizophrenia a psychotic condition marked by erratic behavior, withdrawal from reality, and intellectual and emotional deterioration. Also called dementia praecox. —schizophrenic, n., adj. schizothymia a mild form of schizophrenia, characterized by withdrawal, inversion, etc. —schizothyme, n. —schizothymic, adj. submania a mild mania. zoanthropy a form of insanity or mental disorder in which the sufferer imagines that he is an animal. —zoanthropic, adj. zoopsia a form of hallucination in which the sufferer imagines he sees animals. Also called zooscopy. zooscopy zoopsia.
A three-part word (root 'sane', prefix 'in-' meaning 'not', suffix '-ity', meaning 'the state of'). Derived from Latin precursory equivalents. Two possible candidates for construction order:
- "insane+-ity": insānus (“unhealthy; insane”) + -itās
- Latin insānus (“unsound in mind; mad, insane”), from in- + sanus (“sound, sane”). Modern forms of roots: in- + sane
- "in- + sanity": in-- (“healthy; sane”) + sanitās.
- Latin sanitās (“sound in mind; sane”), from sānus (“healthy; sane”) + -itās. Modern forms of roots: sane + -ity
insanity - Legal Definition
A mental disorder that deprives a criminal defendant of capacity to be tried.