One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A condition in which abnormal muscle contractions cause involuntary writhing movements. It affects some people with cerebral palsy, impairing speech and use of the hands.
- ‘Because of increased physical activity through involuntary movements, non-ambulatory children with athetosis are hyperactive and may have increased energy expenditure.’
Late 19th century: from Greek athetos ‘without position’ + -osis.
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