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[par-uh-lahyz] /ˈpær əˌlaɪz/
verb (used with object), paralyzed, paralyzing.
to affect with paralysis.
to bring to a condition of helpless stoppage, inactivity, or inability to act:
The strike paralyzed communications.
Also, especially British, paralyse.
Origin of paralyze
1795-1805; back formation from paralysis, modeled on analyze
Related forms
paralyzant, adjective, noun
paralyzation, noun
paralyzer, noun
paralyzingly, adverb
semiparalyzed, adjective
unparalyzed, adjective
2. See shock1 . Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for paralyse
Historical Examples
  • The effect on the savage was to paralyse him for the moment.

    The Madman and the Pirate R.M. Ballantyne
  • "It must paralyse your efforts, preaching to such a congregation," said the other.

    The Kellys and the O'Kellys Anthony Trollope
  • Her heart beat so violently that it seemed at once to choke and to paralyse her.

    At His Gates, Vol. 3(of 3) Margaret Oliphant
  • All this was enough to paralyse those who might have been willing to join.

  • Also the farcical nature of the whole proceeding seemed to paralyse her.

    Beatrice H. Rider Haggard
  • The swift fierceness of the attack seemed to paralyse the senses of the crowd.

    Corporal Cameron Ralph Connor
  • The audacity of the youngster appeared to paralyse his powers of speech and action.

    Corporal Cameron Ralph Connor
  • He felt as if something had happened to paralyse all power of action.

    The Phantom Lover Ruby M. Ayres
  • They paralyse all of it that is not devoted to their tyranny and caprice.

    Table-Talk William Hazlitt
  • I paralyse one of them by giving an injection of ammonia in the nerve-centres.

    More Hunting Wasps J. Henri Fabre
British Dictionary definitions for paralyse


verb (transitive)
(pathol) to affect with paralysis
(med) to render (a part of the body) insensitive to pain, touch, etc, esp by injection of an anaesthetic
to make immobile; transfix
Derived Forms
paralysation, (US) paralyzation, noun
paralyser, (US) paralyzer, noun
Word Origin
C19: from French paralyser, from paralysieparalysis
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 paralyse

alternative (chiefly British) spelling of paralyze. For ending, see -ize. Related: Paralysed; paralysing.



1804, from French paralyser (16c.), from Old French paralisie "paralysis," from Latin paralysis (see paralysis). Figurative use from 1805. Related: Paralyzed; paralyzing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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paralyse in Medicine

paralyze par·a·lyze (pār'ə-līz')
v. par·a·lyzed, par·a·lyz·ing, par·a·lyz·es
To affect with paralysis; cause to be paralytic.

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