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noun, plural pal·sies.
  1. 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.
  2. paralysis(def 1b).
verb (used with object), pal·sied, pal·sy·ing.
  1. to paralyze.

Origin of palsy1

1250–1300; Middle English, variant of parlesie < Middle French paralisie < Latin paralysis paralysis
Related formspal·sy·like, adjective


adjective Slang.
  1. palsy-walsy.

Origin of palsy2

First recorded in 1925–30; pal + -sy
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for palsy


noun plural -sies
  1. paralysis, esp of a specified typecerebral palsy
verb -sies, -sying or -sied (tr)
  1. to paralyse
Derived Formspalsied, 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

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

palsy in Medicine


  1. 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.