- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Alice in Wonderland syndrome

Related people

A psychopathological syndrome of distorted space, time and body image. The patient has a feeling that the entire body or parts of it have been altered in shape and size (metamorphosis), associated with visual hallucinations.

Psychoanalytic interpretation by Todd has made more understandable and plausible the illusionary dreams, feeling of levitation, and alteration in the sense of passage of time that Alice experienced. Alice trod the paths and byways of a wonderland well known to Carroll, her creator, who suffered severely from migraine. The majority of patients have personal or family history of migraine.

In Lippman’s report, one of the patients stated that she felt short and wide as she walked, calling this a ”tweedlike dum” or ”tweedle dee” feeling. Associated disorders may include apraxia, agnosia, language disorders, feelings of déjà vu or jamais vu, dreamlike or trancelike states, and delirium.

The disorder was first described in 1955 by the English psychiatrist John Todd (1914-1987), who named it for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

The Cheshire Cat syndrome is another medical eponym taken from Alice in Wonderland. It was first described by the British physician Eric George Lapthorne Bywaters (born 1910) in 1968.


  • Lewis Carroll:
    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.London 1865.
  • J. Todd:
    Syndrome of Alice in Wonderland.
    Canadian Medical Association Journal, Ottawa, 1955, 73: 701-704.
  • C. W. Lippman:
    Certain hallucinations peculiar to migraine.
    Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, Baltimore, 1952, 116: 346-351.

What is an eponym?

An eponym is a word derived from the name of a person, whether real or fictional. A medical eponym is thus any word related to medicine, whose name is derived from a person.

What is Whonamedit?

Whonamedit.com is a biographical dictionary of medical eponyms. It is our ambition to present a complete survey of all medical phenomena named for a person, with a biography of that person.


Whonamedit? does not give medical advice.
This survey of medical eponyms and the persons behind them is meant as a general interest site only. No information found here must under any circumstances be used for medical purposes, diagnostically, therapeutically or otherwise. If you, or anybody close to you, is affected, or believe to be affected, by any condition mentioned here: see a doctor.