from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. an overwhelming urge to run away (from home, a bad situation, responsibility, etc.)


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Coined in 1851 by Samuel A. Cartwright as a mental illness that caused black slaves to flee captivity. Ancient Greek δραπέτης (drapetes, "runaway slave") + μανία (mania, "madness").


  • The main theme is slavery and racial inequality which does not end with the War; the film is eye-opening because so many elements of it are not actually fictional - the psychiatric diagnosis of "drapetomania" to describe runaway slaves and justify medical treatment of same; the portrayal of slaves and negroes in brand advertising, several of which exist in our reality too e.g.

    Archive 2009-02-01

  • In fact, I was reminded by -- in 1851, there was a doctor named Samuel Cartwright who coined the term "drapetomania" to describe what he said was a syndrome of runaway slave who ran away from abusive treatment.

    CNN Transcript Aug 2, 2009

  • [1] The absurdity of this belief is evident in Louisiana physician Dr. Samuel Cartwright's 1851 proposal of a psychiatric diagnosis (drapetomania) to explain the pathological tendency of Black slaves to flee captivity.

    The Trouble With Elves: Racial Dynamics in Harry Potter (Part 3)

  • In addition to identifying drapetomania, Cartwright prescribed a remedy to cure the malady.

    The Earth Is Flat

  • Today, drapetomania is considered an example of pseudoscience, and part of the edifice of scientific racism.

    The Earth Is Flat

  • Examples - Drapetomania:In psychiatry, drapetomania was a mental illness described by American physician Samuel A. Cartwright in 1851 that caused black slaves to flee captivity.

    The Earth Is Flat

  • The so-called crazy desire of our foremothers and forefathers to be free was considered a disease with an actual name: drapetomania.

    Black Pain

  • Right next to the scratched-out entry for drapetomania, I guess.

    Work to rule in middle school

  • And then years ago during slavery times, the psychiatric industry coined a phrase called drapetomania, which meant that if you tried to run away as a slave, that you were crazy.

    CNN Transcript Feb 23, 2008

  • Conversely, we may think something is a disease but we might be wrong, just as we were wrong about drapetomania or masturbation, which do not causally depend on any biological malfunction.

    Concepts of Disease and Health


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  • Strange as in totally inconsistent with the understanding of the world that many of the slaveowners held--an experience of cognitive estrangement upon encountering the behavior.

    June 5, 2009

  • Strange in what way?

    June 1, 2009

  • Coined by Samuel Cartwright in 1851 and used to describe slaves who felt the strange burning desire to escape from the condition of slavery.

    June 1, 2009