American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A sudden outburst of emotion or action: a paroxysm of laughter.
- n. A sudden attack, recurrence, or intensification of a disease.
- n. A spasm or fit; a convulsion.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In medicine, a fit of any disease; periodical exacerbation of a disease.
- n. Hence Any sudden and violent action; spasmodic affection or action; convulsion; fit.
- n. Figuratively, a quarrel.
- n. A random or sudden outburst (of activity).
- n. An explosive event during a volcanic eruption.
- n. A sudden recurrence of a disease.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Med.) The fit, attack, or exacerbation, of a disease that occurs at intervals, or has decided remissions or intermissions.
- n. Any sudden and violent emotion; spasmodic passion or action; a convulsion; a fit.
- n. a sudden uncontrollable attack
- From French paroxysme, from Medieval Latin paroxysmus, from Ancient Greek παροξυσμός (paroksusmos, "irritation, the severe fit of a disease"), from παροξύνειν (paroksunein, "to sharpen, irritate"), from παρά (pará) + ὀξύνειν (oksunein, "sharpen"), from ὀξύς (oksus, "sharp"). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English paroxism, periodic attack of a disease, from Medieval Latin paroxysmus, from Greek paroxusmos, from paroxūnein, to stimulate, irritate : para-, intensive pref.; see para-1 + oxūnein, to goad, sharpen (from oxus, sharp; see ak- in Indo-European roots). (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Her innards were in paroxysm, violently expelling what they no longer recognized as food.”
“The Greek word is the root of the English word paroxysm, which in medicine can stand for a seizure.”
“That is the basic joke of this very funny play: we modern, knowing libertines, entirely familiar with orgasms, watching repressed Victorians clinically discussing the heretofore unknown phenomenon they term a paroxysm, all thanks to Mr. Edison’s wondrous new discovery, electricity.”
“To be sure I had passed through what I may call a paroxysm of Alexander Smith, a poet deeply unknown to the present generation, but then acclaimed immortal by all the critics, and put with Shakespeare, who must be a good deal astonished from time to time in his Elysian quiet by the companionship thrust upon him.”
“Saul had what would now be called a paroxysm of insanity.”
“(Maria Dizzia) for "hysteria" by inducing a "paroxysm" - what we would call an orgasm nowadays.”
“None of the characters is particularly sympathetic, including the wife of the doctor performing the electronic massage under the sheet that induces a 'paroxysm' in the patient, and paroxysms of laughter from (by the sound of it) men in the audience.”
“Furex was a strange creature, a Limousin stonemason who worked steadily all the week and drank himself into a kind of paroxysm on”
“Under such media the disease, par excellence, of the Gaboon is the paroxysm which is variously called Coast, African, Guinea, and”
“Bonaparte's, but, according to others, engaged by Madame Bonaparte to perform the part she did demanded, upon her knees, in a kind of paroxysm of joy, the happiness of embracing him, in doing which she fainted, or pretended to faint away, and a pension of three thousand livres -- was settled on her for her affection.”
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