Definition of lathyrism in English:



  • A tropical disease marked by tremors, muscular weakness, and paraplegia, especially prevalent in South Asia. It is commonly attributed to continued consumption of the seeds of the grass pea.

    • ‘Another similar disease, lathyrism, is due to toxicity from chickling peas.’
    • ‘Known as lathyrism, the condition occurs mainly in Nepal, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and India, where grasspea is a human and animal dietary staple.’
    • ‘Acute lathyrism is not an appropriate model for periodontitis which has a chronic origin.’
    • ‘From time to time there is an outbreak of a paralysing disease, lathyrism, among people and animals that consume it.’


Late 19th century: from modern Latin Lathyrus (genus name of various leguminous plants) + -ism.