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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for paralyse
Historical Examples
  • But I will paralyse the strength you have criminally abused.

    The World's Greatest Books, Vol VIII Arthur Mee and J.A. Hammerton, Eds.
  • "It must paralyse your efforts, preaching to such a congregation," said the other.

    The Kellys and the O'Kellys Anthony Trollope
  • Also the farcical nature of the whole proceeding seemed to paralyse her.

    Beatrice H. Rider Haggard
  • I paralyse one of them by giving an injection of ammonia in the nerve-centres.

    More Hunting Wasps J. Henri Fabre
  • The news that Duprez was among his audience was sufficient to paralyse his powers, to extinguish his voice.

    A Book of the Play Dutton Cook
  • When they are angry they paralyse men and cattle with their fairy darts.

  • You have three months within which to paralyse British shipping completely—there must not remain one ship afloat.

    The Secrets of a Kuttite Edward O. Mousley
  • The immediate effect of the blow was to paralyse the second-hand department.

    The Divine Fire May Sinclair
  • Mr. Westguard's intense bitterness confuses me a little, and seems almost to paralyse any critical judgment I may possess.

    The Streets of Ascalon Robert W. Chambers
  • I'll do it to paralyse the present order, to disrupt it, as you'll see!

    The Road to Damascus August Strindberg
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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