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 (āl′yə-nĭst, ā′lē-ə-)
A physician who evaluates the competence of defendants to stand trial.

[Obsolete French aliéniste, psychiatrist : obsolete French aliéné, mentally ill (from past participle of aliéner, to estrange, make hostile, deprive of reason, from Old French, from Latin aliēnāre, to deprive of reason; see alienate) + French -iste, -ist (from Old French; see -ist).]


(ˈeɪljənɪst; ˈeɪlɪə-)
1. (Psychiatry) US a psychiatrist who specializes in the legal aspects of mental illness
2. (Psychiatry) obsolete a person who practises alienism


(ˌeɪl yə nɪst, ˌeɪ li ə-)

1. (formerly) a physician specializing in the treatment of mental illness; psychiatrist.
2. an expert witness in a sanity trial.
[1860–65; alien (ation) + -ist; compare French aliéniste]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.alienist - a psychiatrist and specialist in the legal aspects of mental illnessalienist - a psychiatrist and specialist in the legal aspects of mental illness
head-shrinker, psychiatrist, shrink - a physician who specializes in psychiatry


[ˈeɪljənɪst] N (US) → alienista mf
References in classic literature ?
Alienists, who study the matter exactly, probably know more of human vanity and its effects than do ordinary men.
Later in 1906 he described these findings to the South-West German Society of Alienists.
Psychologists of that time were known as alienists.
The general conclusion of these alienists is that suicide is not a distinct type of insanity.
What did he really think of this group of alienists, as psychiatrists were then termed, coming into his study before he had even eaten his breakfast?
Of course, alienists were also fought to the last ditch at the time they were first attempted to be introduced.
terms of traditional morality, where testifying alienists might try to
Alienists "inherited" this wish to protect the society against individuals considered dangerous and the place occupied by "dangerousness" turned them--according to M.
No longer were there madhouses, madhouse keepers, madmen and madwomen; there were asylums, proprietors, alienists, and lunatics.
92) Each of the individuals who claimed to have this knowledge--a group which, at least initially, included alienists, mad doctors, prison surgeons and asylum superintendents, and each with varying claims to authority (93)--shared a depiction of 'madness' as a genuine object of expertise, from which it was possible to offer intelligible explanations about cause and effect.
He could have deliberately chosen experts likely to say that the accused had become insane since the beginning of the trial, thereby making him ineligible to be executed, instead, he leaned towards alienists likely to judge Riel sane and so qualified to be hanged .
Three of these men were competent alienists, who were able to diagnose the Bolshevik leaders mentally in the course of their professional duties.