Definition of autokinesis in US English:



  • 1Voluntary movement (of a muscle or the body). rare.

  • 2Metaphysics. The self-generated or spontaneous motion of the soul.

  • 3An optical illusion in which a small stationary object in a uniform background, especially a light source in an otherwise dark field, appears to move.


Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Robley Dunglison (1798–1869), physician and medical writer. Partly from Hellenistic Greek αὐτοκίνησις self-motion, and partly from auto- + -kinesis.