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or catalepsis

[kat-l-ep-see] /ˈkæt lˌɛp si/
noun, Pathology, Psychiatry.
a physical condition usually associated with catatonic schizophrenia, characterized by suspension of sensation, muscular rigidity, fixity of posture, and often by loss of contact with environment.
Origin of catalepsy
1350-1400; < Medieval Latin catalēpsia, variant of Late Latin catalēpsis < Greek katálēpsis seizure (akin to katalambánein to hold down), equivalent to kata- cata- + lêpsis a grasping (lēp-, variant stem of lambánein to grasp + -sis -sis); replacing Middle English cathalempsia < Medieval Latin
Related forms
cataleptic, adjective, noun
cataleptically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for catalepsy
Historical Examples
  • When not in a catalepsy of literary composition, I am essentially the man of action.

    Love Among the Chickens P. G. Wodehouse
  • Is it the catalepsy in which life is suspended, but consciousness acute?

    A Strange Story, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • But even as he spoke he stiffened as a man suddenly struck with catalepsy.

    The Proud Prince Justin Huntly McCarthy
  • Saul fell from his horse in an access of fever, or catalepsy.

  • At other times he sat hour by hour in a state as motionless as that of catalepsy.

  • O'Rane was standing in the middle of the library like a—like a man in catalepsy.

    Sonia Married Stephen McKenna
  • Most likely a state of catalepsy, but he was buried and none thought a second time about it.

    The Pacific Triangle Sydney Greenbie
  • You may know all about catalepsy and hydrophobia, and nothing about itch or measles.

    Opuscula Robert Gordon Latham
  • According to your theory, at what point of time does your catalepsy end?

    Red as a Rose is She Rhoda Broughton
  • Except that I could move and feel, I was like a man fallen in a catalepsy.

    Across the Plains Robert Louis Stevenson
British Dictionary definitions for catalepsy


a state of prolonged rigid posture, occurring for example in schizophrenia or in hypnotic trances
Derived Forms
cataleptic, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin catalēpsia, variant of Late Latin catalēpsis, from Greek katalēpsis, literally: a seizing, from katalambanein to hold down, from kata- down + lambanein to grasp
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for catalepsy

late 14c., cathalempsia, from Medieval Latin catalepsia, from Late Latin catalepsis, from Greek katalepsis "a seizure, a seizing upon, a taking possession," from kataleptos "seized," from katalambanein "to seize upon," from kata- "down" (see cata-) + lambanein "to take" (see analemma).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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catalepsy in Medicine

catalepsy cat·a·lep·sy (kāt'l-ěp'sē)
A condition that occurs in a variety of physical and psychological disorders and is characterized by lack of response to external stimuli and by muscular rigidity, so that the limbs remain in whatever position they are placed.

cat'a·lep'tic (kāt'l-ěp'tĭk) adj.
cat'a·lep'toid' adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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