Definition of Korsakoff's syndrome in English:

Korsakoff's syndrome

(also Korsakoff's psychosis)


  • A serious mental illness, typically the result of chronic alcoholism, characterized by disorientation and a tendency to invent explanations to cover a loss of memory of recent events.

    • ‘Other disorders caused by thiamine deficiency include Wernicke's encephelopathy, which causes lack of coordination, and Korsakoff's psychosis, which affects short-term memory.’
    • ‘The vast majority of amnesic patients are chronic alcoholics, suffering from Korsakoff's syndrome.’
    • ‘A prime suspect is the orbitofrontal cortex, just over our eyes, which is impaired in Korsakoff's syndrome and by aneurysms of the anterior communicating artery, two routes to confabulation.’
    • ‘To escape the clinic, Hannah cons a man with Korsakoff's syndrome out of several hundred dollars, justifying the act to herself with the thought that not only does he not need the money, but he won't even realise it's gone in the morning.’
    • ‘Why Korsakoff's psychosis develops in only some patients with Wernicke's encephalopathy is unclear.’


Early 20th century: named after Sergei S. Korsakoff (1854–1900), Russian psychiatrist.


Korsakoff's syndrome

/ˈkôrsəkäfs ˌsindrōm/