Try Our Apps


Famous Last Words


[kuh n-vuhl-shuh n] /kənˈvʌl ʃən/
contortion of the body caused by violent, involuntary muscular contractions of the extremities, trunk, and head.
violent agitation or disturbance; commotion.
an outburst of great, uncontrollable laughter.
Origin of convulsion
First recorded in 1575-85, convulsion is from the Latin word convulsiōn- (stem of convulsiō). See convulse, -ion Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for convulsion
Historical Examples
  • The sob with which she ends alarms him by its kinship to a convulsion.

    Alas! Rhoda Broughton
  • I had a vague belief that he was suffering from a fit or some form of convulsion.

    The Damned Thing Ambrose Bierce
  • She seemed about to throw back her hands as though a convulsion was imminent.

    A Love Episode Emile Zola
  • The forest fairly rocked under the convulsion of the elements.

    In the Valley Harold Frederic
  • There must have been a convulsion indeed, he declared, as ruefully and tenderly he gathered the fragments.

    Tristram of Blent Anthony Hope
  • The schooner shook with such a convulsion that I was persuaded she had been split.

    The Frozen Pirate W. Clark Russell
  • He could not have said precisely what it was, but it seemed to be a compromise between fear and convulsion.

    The Goose Man Jacob Wassermann
  • It fell with one convulsion on the ground, and gave up the ghost.

    Pelham, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • And its ichthyolites, if not previously absorbed, were probably destroyed in the convulsion.

  • A convulsion, the doctor says it was; he said all along he might have them, but I thought he was better.

    The Combined Maze May Sinclair
British Dictionary definitions for convulsion


a violent involuntary contraction of a muscle or muscles
a violent upheaval, disturbance, or agitation, esp a social one
(usually pl) (informal) uncontrollable laughter: I was in convulsions
Derived Forms
convulsionary, adjective
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for convulsion

1580s, from Latin convulsionem (nominative convulsio), noun of action from past participle stem of convellere "to tear loose," from com- "together" (see com-) + vellere "to pluck, pull violently."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
convulsion in Medicine

convulsion con·vul·sion (kən-vŭl'shən)
An intense, paroxysmal, involuntary muscular contraction.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
convulsion in Culture

convulsion definition

A severe, often violent involuntary contraction of the muscles. Convulsions may be caused by high fevers or poisoning and often accompany such diseases such as epilepsy.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for convulsion

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for convulsion

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for convulsion