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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Aphonia \A*pho"ni*a\, Aphony \Aph"o*ny\, n. [NL. aphonia, Gr. ?, fr. ? voiceless; 'a priv. + ? voice: cf. F. aphonie.] (Med.) Loss of voice or vocal utterance.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"want of voice, loss of voice, having no sound," 1719, from Modern Latin aphonia, from Greek aphonia "speechlessness," noun of quality from aphonos "voiceless," from a-, privative prefix (see a- (3)), + phone "voice" (see fame (n.)) + abstract noun ending -ia. Less-common anglicized form aphony is attested from 1827.


n. (context medicine English) Loss of voice; the inability to speak


n. a disorder of the vocal organs that results in the loss of voice [syn: voicelessness]


Aphonia is the inability to produce voice. It is considered more severe than dysphonia. A primary cause of aphonia is bilateral disruption of the recurrent laryngeal nerve, which supplies nearly all the muscles in the larynx. Damage to the nerve may be the result of surgery (e.g., thyroidectomy) or a tumor.

Aphonia means "no sound." In other words, a person with this disorder has lost his/her voice.

Usage examples of "aphonia".

Odier has known a woman who was affected with aphonia whenever exposed to the odor of musk, but who immediately recovered after taking a cold bath.

There was much expectoration of muco-purulent fluid, and on the third day complete aphonia, but the symptoms gradually disappeared, and recovery was complete in eight days.

The same may be said of feigned insanity, aphonia, deaf-mutism, and loss of memory.

The reason for my doing so was that she had complained of complete aphonia on two occasions in the last two years, the first time when she was visiting her brother in Paris, and I was interested in establishing whether her temporary loss of speech might have had some connection with a lack of confidence in a foreign language.

Before proceeding, I asked her to recall the occasions on which she had suffered her aphonia and found that the first instance had followed swiftly on the incident in which the young doctor so suddenly interrupted her reverie in her bedroom.

We moved then to the question of how her aphonia, which I had wrongly thought at first to be connected to her anxiety about speaking a foreign language3 while temporarily removed from the company of the man she loved.

I did not doubt that the circumstances of the other instance of her aphonia, which she claimed not to remember, had also involved a separation.