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Abnormal irritability or sensitivity of an organ or a body part to stimulation.

[French éréthisme, from Greek erethisma, a provocation, from erethizein, to irritate.]

er′e·this′mic (-mĭk) adj.


1. (Pathology) physiol an abnormally high degree of irritability or sensitivity in any part of the body
2. (Psychiatry) psychiatry
a. a personality disorder resulting from mercury poisoning
b. an abnormal tendency to become aroused quickly, esp sexually, as the result of a verbal or psychic stimulus
[C18: from French éréthisme, from Greek erethismos irritation, from erethizein to excite, irritate]
ˌereˈthismic, ˌereˈthistic, ˌereˈthitic, ˈerethic adj


(ˈɛr əˌθɪz əm)

an unusual or excessive degree of irritability or stimulation in an organ or tissue.
[1790–1800; < French éréthisme < Greek erethismós irritation =ereth(ízein) to irritate + -ismos -ism]
er`e•this′mic, er`e•this′tic (-ˈθɪs tɪk) er`e•thit′ic (-ˈθɪt ɪk) adj.


1. an excessive irritability or sensibility to stimulation in any part of the body, especially the sexual organs.
2. a psychic disturbance characterized by irritability, emotional instability, depression, shyness, and fatigue, often caused by toxicity. — erethistic, erethitic, adj.
See also: Disease and Illness
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.erethism - an abnormally high degree of irritability or sensitivity to stimulation of an organ or body part
abnormalcy, abnormality - an abnormal physical condition resulting from defective genes or developmental deficiencies