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Hyp"no*tism (?), n. [Gr. &unr_; sleep: cf. F. hypnotisme.] 1. A form of sleep or trance, in some respects resembling somnambulism, but brought on by artificial means, in which there is an unusual suspension of some powers, and an unusual activity of others, especially a heightened susceptibility to suggestion. It is induced by an action upon the nerves, through the medium of the senses, by causing the subject to gaze steadily at a very bright object held before the eyes, or on an oscillating object, or by pressure upon certain points of the surface of the body, usually accompanied by the speaking of the hypnotist in quiet soothing tones. Called also hypnosis.
2. The science which deals with the induction and properties of the hypnotic state.