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paroxysm

[par-uh k-siz-uh m] /ˈpær əkˌsɪz əm/
noun
1.
any sudden, violent outburst; a fit of violent action or emotion:
paroxysms of rage.
2.
Pathology. a severe attack or a sudden increase in intensity of a disease, usually recurring periodically.
Origin of paroxysm
1570-1580
1570-80; earlier paroxismos < Greek paroxysmós irritation, derivative of paroxýnein to irritate. See par-, oxy-1, -ism
Related forms
paroxysmal, paroxysmic, adjective
paroxysmally, adverb
hyperparoxysm, noun
postparoxysmal, adjective
preparoxysmal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for paroxysm
Historical Examples
  • Saunders became vehement, and paid the penalty of a paroxysm of coughing.

    Good Indian B. M. Bower
  • His prisoner fell into a paroxysm of rage, and struck at him.

    The Gentleman From Indiana Booth Tarkington
  • "It's this way, Munro," said he, when he had got over his paroxysm.

    The Stark Munro Letters J. Stark Munro
  • For a moment she lay with a paroxysm of death twitching her.

    The World Beyond Raymond King Cummings
  • I dare not attempt to delineate the paroxysm of emotion which it excited in every heart.

    Patrick Henry

    Moses Coit Tyler
  • At last, as the paroxysm had reached its height, he bounded up from the bed and awoke.

    Sir Jasper Carew Charles James Lever
  • Lieut. Feraud passed from one paroxysm of astonishment into another.

    A Set of Six Joseph Conrad
  • Lieutenant Feraud passed from one paroxysm of astonishment into another.

    The Point Of Honor Joseph Conrad
  • His desire of life tormented him in a paroxysm of agonising remorse.

    Almayer's Folly Joseph Conrad
  • The next instant, he was down on his knees in a paroxysm of grief and despair.

    The Midnight Queen May Agnes Fleming
British Dictionary definitions for paroxysm

paroxysm

/ˈpærəkˌsɪzəm/
noun
1.
an uncontrollable outburst: a paroxysm of giggling
2.
(pathol)
  1. a sudden attack or recurrence of a disease
  2. any fit or convulsion
Derived Forms
paroxysmal, paroxysmic, adjective
paroxysmally, adverb
Word Origin
C17: via French from Medieval Latin paroxysmus annoyance, from Greek paroxusmos, from paroxunein to goad, from para-1 (intensifier) + oxunein to sharpen, from oxus sharp
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 paroxysm
n.

"sudden attack, convulsion," early 15c., from Middle French paroxysme (16c.), earlier paroxime (13c.), from Medieval Latin paroxysmus "irritation, fit of a disease," from Greek paroxysmos "irritation, exasperation," from paroxynein "to irritate, goad, provoke," from para- "beyond" (see para- (1)) + oxynein "sharpen, goad," from oxys "sharp, pointed" (see acrid). Non-medical sense first attested c.1600. Related: Paroxysmal.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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paroxysm in Medicine

paroxysm par·ox·ysm (pār'ək-sĭz'əm)
n.

  1. A sharp spasm or fit; a convulsion.

  2. A sudden onset of a symptom or disease, especially one with recurrent manifestations, such as the chills and fever of malaria.


par'ox·ys'mal (-ək-sĭz'məl) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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