or cat·a·lep·sis

[ kat-l-ep-see ]
See synonyms for catalepsy on
nounPathology, Psychiatry.
  1. a physical condition usually associated with catatonic schizophrenia, characterized by suspension of sensation, muscular rigidity, fixity of posture, and often by loss of contact with environment.

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Origin of catalepsy

1350–1400; <Medieval Latin catalēpsia, variant of Late Latin catalēpsis<Greek katálēpsis seizure (akin to katalambánein to hold down), equivalent to kata-cata- + lêpsis a grasping (lēp-, variant stem of lambánein to grasp + -sis-sis); replacing Middle English cathalempsia<Medieval Latin

Other words from catalepsy

  • cat·a·lep·tic, adjective, noun
  • cat·a·lep·ti·cal·ly, adverb

Words Nearby catalepsy Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use catalepsy in a sentence

  • Dr. Coleridge "considered it to be a contagious nervous disease, the acme or intensest form of which is catalepsy."

  • But even as he spoke he stiffened as a man suddenly struck with catalepsy.

    The Proud Prince | Justin Huntly McCarthy
  • Other critics have tried to explain the Prophet's actions by some kind of a catalepsy, from which, they claim, he suffered.

    The Prophet Ezekiel | Arno C. Gaebelein
  • Filled with a vague fear, he tried to waken his wife, but she was like one in a state of catalepsy.

  • Undoubtedly it was a case of catalepsy, and Enistor felt curious to see the man who had been so nearly buried alive.

    A Son of Perdition | Fergus Hume

British Dictionary definitions for catalepsy


/ (ˈkætəˌlɛpsɪ) /

  1. a state of prolonged rigid posture, occurring for example in schizophrenia or in hypnotic trances

Origin of catalepsy

C16: from Medieval Latin catalēpsia, variant of Late Latin catalēpsis, from Greek katalēpsis, literally: a seizing, from katalambanein to hold down, from kata- down + lambanein to grasp

Derived forms of catalepsy

  • cataleptic, adjective

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