Definition of alienist in English:

alienist

noun

  • 1

    former term for psychiatrist
    • ‘The alienist says that Mr. Dundas is a severe melancholic.’
    • ‘The medical profession complained incessantly about the rules, and in lectures, articles and books alienists argued that they alone possessed the necessary qualifications to judge criminal responsibility.’
    • ‘On this side were the ex-physician to the viceroy of Egypt, Franz Pruner-Bey, the former Martinique physician Etienne Rufz de Lavison, and the alienist Louis-Jean Delasiauve.’
    • ‘On to this Stoker pasted some new-fangled psychiatric theory, derived from the French alienist Charcot, one of Freud's main precursors.’
    • ‘Theorists in the first period included travelers, military physicians, and alienists who examined Algerian lunatics and collectively found them less prone to madness than civilized Europeans.’
    1. 1.1US A psychiatrist who assesses the competence of a defendant in a court of law.
      • ‘Under the California Penal Code, whenever a defendant pleads not guilty by reason of insanity the court must select and appoint two alienists to examine the defendant and investigate his sanity.’
      • ‘And now I know from what sources some of the criminal court alienists of today were derived.’
      • ‘Alienists appointed by the court in insanity cases should be deemed to be the court's own witnesses.’
      • ‘The court decided to continue the hearing for another week, during which time the testimony of the alienists will be put in the hands of other medical men, who will in turn observe Mrs. Gage.’
      • ‘The alienist thus comes into court with a friendly feeling towards the lawyers for the defense together with a sympathy for the accused.’

Origin

Mid 19th century: from French aliéniste, based on Latin alienus of another (see alien).

Pronunciation:

alienist

/ˈālēənist/