Coprolalia is the use of expletives or other obscene language. This may be:

  • Vocal: involuntary utterance of obscenities
  • Mental: compulsion to think obscenities


The former is a complex vocal tic most characteristically seen in Gilles de la Tourette syndrome although it actually occurs in less than half of affected individuals. Other disease associations are:

  • Lesch-Nyhan syndrome
  • Postencephalitic parkinsonism
  • Neuroacanthocytosis
  • Cingulate cortical seizures

The pathophysiology of coprolalia is unknown but may be related to frontal (cingulate and orbitofrontal) dysfunction, for which there is some evidence in Gilles de la Tourette syndrome.


Cross References