Definition of alexia in US English:



  • The inability to see words or to read, caused by a defect of the brain.

    Compare with dyslexia
    Also called word blindness
    • ‘Strokes that cause alexia, the loss or impairment of the ability to read, or aphasia, the loss or impairment of the ability to express or comprehend language by speech or sign, are examples of debilitating impairment.’
    • ‘The chapters in this section address one type of peripheral dyslexia (pure alexia) and one type of central dyslexia (deep dyslexia).’
    • ‘Patient # 23 presented with the acute onset of a right superior quadrantanopsia and alexia without agraphia.’
    • ‘For example, we have the case of alexia without agaphia, in other words, a patient who, due to injury or a stroke, is unable to read, yet able to write.’
    • ‘Patients with surface alexia typically have a lesion in the temporoparietal region of the left hemisphere.’


Late 19th century: from a- ‘without’ + Greek lexis ‘speech’, from legein ‘speak’, which was confused with Latin legere ‘read’.