Definition of St. Vitus's dance in US English:

St. Vitus's dance


  • old-fashioned term for Sydenham's chorea
    • ‘The most manifest symptom of St. Vitus's dance is continued involuntary action of the voluntary muscles, to a greater or lesser degree - the extent of the muscles affected, and the intensity of their affection, varying with the severity of the disease.’
    • ‘Rheumatic fever is often associated with St. Vitus's Dance. Seven out of ten victims are girls. They are usually "nervous," "high-strung" children to begin with. The disease usually burns itself out in two, three months.’


So named because a visit to St Vitus's shrine was believed to alleviate the disease.