Definition of Ritalin in English:



mass nountrademark
  • A synthetic drug that stimulates the sympathetic and central nervous systems, used chiefly to improve mental activity in attention deficit disorder.

    Also called methylphenidate
    • ‘The Ritalin eliminated the nocturnal hallucinations but they also destroyed Tom's appetite and imagination.’
    • ‘There has been a world-wide tendency to define students that have so-called learning difficulties as Attention Deficit Disordered and treat those with psycho-stimulant drugs such as Ritalin.’
    • ‘Throughout the '90s, the number of kids on mood-altering drugs like Prozac and Ritalin doubled and, in some cases, tripled.’
    • ‘She had attention-deficit disorder and the Ritalin she took wore off by the time she got home from school.’
    • ‘The presenter had argued he knew several people who were helped by anti-depressants and suggested the drugs, including popular medication Ritalin, could benefit some sufferers.’


1940s: apparently from Rita, the nickname of Marguerite Panizzon, an early tester of the drug and the wife of the Italian-born Swiss chemist Leandro Panizzon, who first synthesized it, + -in.