- a disorder of the nervous system, characterized either by mild, episodic loss of attention or sleepiness (petit mal) or by severe convulsions with loss of consciousness (grand mal).
Origin of epilepsy
< Late Latin epilēpsia
< Greek epilēpsía
epileptic seizure, equivalent to epílēpt(os
) suffering from epilepsy (verbid of epilambánein
to get hold of, attack; epi- epi-
to seize) + -ia -y3
, with ti
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018British Dictionary definitions for grand mal
- a disorder of the central nervous system characterized by periodic loss of consciousness with or without convulsions. In some cases it is due to brain damage but in others the cause is unknownSee also grand mal, petit mal
C16: from Late Latin epilēpsia, from Greek, from epilambanein to attack, seize, from lambanein to take
- a form of epilepsy characterized by loss of consciousness for up to five minutes and violent convulsionsCompare petit mal
French: great illness
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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Word Origin and History for grand mal
"convulsive epilepsy" (with loss of consciousness), 1842, from French grand mal, literally "great sickness" (see grand (adj.)). Opposed to petit mal "absence seizure."
1570s, from Middle French epilepsie (16c.), from Late Latin epilepsia, from Greek epilepsia "seizure," from epi "upon" (see epi-) + lepsis "seizure," from leps-, future stem of lambanein "take hold of, grasp" (see analemma).
Earlier was epilencie (late 14c.), from Middle French epilence, with form influenced by pestilence. The native name was falling sickness.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- Any of various neurological disorders characterized by sudden, recurring attacks of motor, sensory, or psychic malfunction with or without loss of consciousness or convulsive seizures.seizure disorder
(grănd′ mäl′, măl′)
- A severe epilepsy characterized by seizures involving tonic-clonic spasms and by the loss of consciousness.generalized tonic-clonic epilepsy generalized tonic-clonic seizure disorder grand mal epilepsy major epilepsy
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
- Any of various neurological disorders characterized by recurrent seizures. Epilepsy is caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
A disorder of the brain characterized by sudden, recurring attacks of abnormal brain function, often resulting in convulsions or seizures. The seizures associated with epilepsy can sometimes be controlled by medication.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.