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[pawl-zee] /ˈpɔl zi/
noun, plural palsies.
any of a variety of atonal muscular conditions characterized by tremors of the body parts, as the hands, arms, or legs, or of the entire body.
paralysis (def 1b).
verb (used with object), palsied, palsying.
to paralyze.
Origin of palsy1
1250-1300; Middle English, variant of parlesie < Middle French paralisie < Latin paralysis paralysis
Related forms
palsylike, adjective


[pal-zee] /ˈpæl zi/
adjective, Slang.
First recorded in 1925-30; pal + -sy Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for palsy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The proprietor turned upon him, quaking in a kind of palsy of surprise.

  • And even near thee, palsy struck I was, The paralytic on the river bank!

    Life Immovable Kostes Palamas
  • The master was very merry, and his excitement augmented his palsy: he could hardly eat.

    Cuore (Heart) Edmondo De Amicis
  • The palsy is coming upon me—I can feel it coming, and here I would die.

    True to His Home Hezekiah Butterworth
  • Her hair had become dull, and her hands trembled as though she had the palsy.

    The Day of Judgment Joseph Hocking
  • And already his legs trembled as if he were seized of a palsy.

    The Hill Horace Annesley Vachell
  • When he brings his hands to the back of his head, as he frequently does, in conversation, they tremble as with palsy.

  • I was not, as Sydney Smith said, "stricken by the palsy of candour."

    Fifteen Chapters of Autobiography George William Erskine Russell
British Dictionary definitions for palsy


noun (pl) -sies
paralysis, esp of a specified type: cerebral palsy
verb (transitive) -sies, -sying, -sied
to paralyse
Derived Forms
palsied, adjective
Word Origin
C13 palesi, from Old French paralisie, from Latin paralysis
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 palsy

"disease causing paralysis," c.1300, palesie, from Anglo-French parlesie, Old French paralisie, from Vulgar Latin *paralysia, from Latin paralysis (see paralysis).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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palsy in Medicine

palsy pal·sy (pôl'zē)
Complete or partial muscle paralysis, often accompanied by loss of sensation and uncontrollable body movements or tremors.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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