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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for palsy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But, ma'am, if you had seen her at the time that her mother was struck with palsy!

  • A querulous, high-pitched voice, quavering with the palsy of extreme age.

    The Slave Of The Lamp Henry Seton Merriman
  • The strong restraint I have put upon my hands has been enough to palsy them.

  • And now that it came it did not come to stimulate, but to palsy.

    The Shame of Motley Raphael Sabatini
  • But it is open to graver criticism than the palsy of its members: it is a system of despair.

    Essays, Second Series Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Now it was rheumatism, now the palsy, and then again the asthma.

    Paul Prescott's Charge Horatio Alger
  • He stood at the door as his guests departed, shaking as though with a palsy.

    The Ivory Snuff Box Arnold Fredericks
  • He was apprehensive lest the excitement should give her a fit or a palsy.


    Christopher Morley
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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