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From French aliéniste, from aliéné, for insane


  • IPA(key): /ˈeɪ.lɪ.ən.ɪst/


alienist (plural alienists)

  1. (dated) An expert in mental illness, especially with reference to legal ramifications.
    • 1923, Arthur Conan Doyle, ‘The Adventure of the Creeping Man’, Norton (2005), page 1644
      “Speaking as a medical man,” said I, “it appears to be a case for an alienist. The old gentleman's cerebral processes were disturbed by the love affair.”
    • 1927, P. G. Wodehouse, 'The Small Bachelor', Arrow, 2008, page 72
      There was probably not an alienist in the land who, having listened so far, would not have sprung at George and held him down with one hand while with the other he signed the necessary certificate of lunacy. But Molly Waddington saw deeper into the matter.
  2. (dated) A psychiatrist or psychologist.

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