Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.


a pattern of language in which words and phrases are juxtaposed without grammatical linkage; seen in schizophrenic and other mental disorders.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


A pattern of communication (speech or writing) in which a person's ideas slip off one track and onto another that is completely unrelated or only obliquely related. In moving from one sentence or clause to the next, the patient shifts topics from one frame of reference to another and things are said in juxtaposition that lack a meaningful relationship. This disturbance occurs between clauses, in contrast to incoherence, in which the disturbance is within clauses.

Organic brain disease, schizophrenia.
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. Rarely used term for a mental defect in which separate ideas or thoughts cannot be joined into a coherent concept.
2. A breaking up of the connecting links in language, said to be characteristic of the language disturbance of schizophrenics.
[G. a- priv. + syn, together, + desis, binding]
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012