The term "alienist" was heading for obsolescence until it was returned to a position of some prominence by the 1994 book "The Alienist" by the historian/novelist Caleb Carr. The story of "The Alienist" starts In New York City in March 1896 when reporter John Schuyler Moore is called to the East River by his old Harvard classmate and friend Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, a psychologist, or "alienist," to view the mutilated body of an adolescent boy. The reporter and the alienist are enlisted as a team by the new police commissioner (who happened to be Teddy Roosevelt) to look into the murder. An "alienist" is "one who treats mental diseases; a mental pathologist; a 'mad doctor,'" according to The Oxford English Dictionary. The OED also defines "alienation" as in this sense as "mental alienation; withdrawal, loss, or derangement of mental faculties; insanity." The insane were thought estranged (alienated) from their normal faculties. The root of "alienist" is the Latin "alienare," to make strange. The word "alienist" came across the Channel to England from France where "aliené" meant insane and an "aliéniste" was one who cared for the mentally ill: a psychiatrist.

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alien·ist 'ā-lē-ə-nəst, 'āl-yə- n PSYCHIATRIST esp one specializing in the legal aspects of psychiatry

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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  • alienist — ALIENÍST, Ă, alienişti, ste, s.m. şi f. Medic specialist în boli mintale. [pr.: li e ] – Din fr. aliéniste. Trimis de ana zecheru, 03.01.2003. Sursa: DEX 98  alieníst s. m. (sil. li e ), pl. alieníşti Trimis de siveco, 10.08.2004. Sursa …   Dicționar Român

  • Alienist — Al ien*ist, n. [F. ali[ e]niste.] One who treats diseases of the mind. Ed. Rev. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • alienist — alien·ist / ā lē ə nist, āl yə / n: a psychiatrist who specializes in the legal aspects of psychiatry (as determining sanity or capacity to stand trial) Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996 …   Law dictionary

  • alienist — (n.) one who treats mental illness, mad doctor, 1864, from Fr. aliéniste, from alienation in the sense of insanity, loss of mental faculty, a sense attested in English from late 15c. (see ALIENATE (Cf. alienate)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • alienist — psychiatrist, psychopathologist, *neurologist, psychotherapist, psychoanalyst …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • alienist — [āl′yənist, āl′ē ənist] n. [Fr aliéniste < L alienatio: see ALIENATION] former term for PSYCHIATRIST, esp. one who testifies in a court of law …   English World dictionary

  • alienist — See alien, alienist, alienate …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • alienist — noun Etymology: French aliéniste, from aliéné insane, from Latin alienatus, past participle of alienare to estrange, from alienus Date: 1864 psychiatrist …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • alienist — /ayl yeuh nist, ay lee euh /, n. 1. (formerly) a doctor specializing in the treatment of mental illness. 2. an expert witness in a sanity trial. [1860 65; ALIEN(ATION) + IST; cf. F aliéniste in same sense] * * * …   Universalium

  • alienist — noun /ˈeɪlɪənɪst/ An expert in mental illness, especially with reference to legal ramifications. See Also: alienism …   Wiktionary

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