2. The actions of delirious or semiconscious patients, as if they are searching for or grasping at imaginary objects, or picking at the bed-clothes or their own clotes.
This is a grave symptom in cases of extreme exhaustion or approaching death. Also known as floccillation.
Carphology comes from the Greek karphologia, a compound of the two Greek elements: karphos, "straw", and legeln, "to collect". It means to behave as though one were picking up bits of straw. This refers to the involuntary movements sometimes seen in delirious patients who may be in exhaustion, stupor, or with a high fever.
Most dictionaries that include carphology also refer the user to floccillation which is the Latin equivalent, formed from floccus, "a bit of wool or straw".