from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To shake or agitate violently: synonym: agitate.
  • intransitive verb To disturb or upset severely.
  • intransitive verb To affect with irregular and involuntary muscular contractions; throw into convulsions.
  • intransitive verb To cause to shake with laughter or strong emotion.
  • intransitive verb To become affected by convulsions; shake.
  • intransitive verb To be disturbed or upset.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To draw or contract spasmodically or involuntarily, as the muscular parts of an animal body; affect by irregular spasms: as, his whole frame was convulsed with agony.
  • To shake; disturb by violent irregular action; cause great or violent agitation in.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To contract violently and irregulary, as the muscular parts of an animal body; to shake with irregular spasms, as in excessive laughter, or in agony from grief or pain.
  • transitive verb To agitate greatly; to shake violently.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive To violently shake or agitate.
  • verb transitive To create great laughter.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb be overcome with laughter
  • verb cause to contract
  • verb move or stir about violently
  • verb make someone convulse with laughter
  • verb contract involuntarily, as in a spasm
  • verb shake uncontrollably


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin convellere, convuls-, to pull violently : com-, intensive pref.; see com– + vellere, to pull.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin convulsus, past participle of convellere ("to pluck up, dislocate, convulse"), from com- ("together") + vellere ("to pluck, pull")


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  • Which wasn’t too bad until I noticed it was absolutely everywhere and started to convulse from the overdose.

    Fashion rant « Dyepot, Teapot 2005

  • He pointed at the fat body, which had begun to twitch and convulse.

    End of Time P. W. Catanese 2011

  • The vet told us that the cat would probably convulse, loose her bowels or pee on the blanket, and make one last breath-like movement but that she wouldn't be aware of it, because she was just going to fall asleep.

    Dante Requiem joshenglish 2009

  • He called 911 after the girl began to convulse a couple of hours after he gave her the Suboxone, the papers say.

    Alaska Teen Injected With Heroin Passes Away AP 2011

  • Not only are the non-violent actions of one man and the people who are following him causing millions of people to convulse with political and civic activism, but agents of the state are involved in speech suppression using modern technology, while it is age-old social media that seems to be the primary driver.

    Alan W. Silberberg: Oldest Tech, Newest Hero? Alan W. Silberberg 2011

  • Hap felt his stomach convulse as he looked at the translucent skin that barely concealed the bones and tendons of the fingers.

    End of Time P. W. Catanese 2011

  • Your insides will convulse and your heart will twist.

    Famous Todd Strasser 2011

  • As Hap watched, with disgust percolating at the bottom of his throat, he saw the nearest fruit twitch and convulse.

    End of Time P. W. Catanese 2011

  • I convulse for a second, then exhale sharply, slam the glass down and bring the beer to my lips.

    Get Laid or Die Trying Jeff Allen 2011

  • Thankfully, the lieutenant had slipped into unconsciousness, instead of continuing to squirm and convulse in obvious discomfort due to the attack on his nervous system.

    Star Trek: Typhon Pact Paths of Disharmony Dayton Ward 2011


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  • “The rising power of the United States in world affairs requires, not a more compliant press, but a relentless barrage of facts and criticism. Our job in this age, as I see it, is not to serve as cheerleaders for our side in the present world struggle but to help the largest possible number of people to see the realities of the changing and convulsive world in which American policy must operate.�?

    James Reston

    July 19, 2009