• synonyms


or cat·a·lep·sis

See more synonyms for catalepsy on Thesaurus.com
noun Pathology, 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
Related formscat·a·lep·tic, adjective, nouncat·a·lep·ti·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for catalepsy

Historical Examples

  • When not in a catalepsy of literary composition, I am essentially the man of action.

    Love Among the Chickens

    P. G. Wodehouse

  • Is it the catalepsy in which life is suspended, but consciousness acute?

    A Strange Story, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

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

    The Proud Prince

    Justin Huntly McCarthy

  • Saul fell from his horse in an access of fever, or catalepsy.

  • At other times he sat hour by hour in a state as motionless as that of catalepsy.

British Dictionary definitions for catalepsy


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

Word Origin

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
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 catalepsy


late 14c., cathalempsia, from Medieval Latin catalepsia, from Late Latin catalepsis, from Greek katalepsis "a seizure, a seizing upon, a taking possession," from kataleptos "seized," from katalambanein "to seize upon," from kata- "down" (see cata-) + lambanein "to take" (see analemma).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

catalepsy in Medicine


  1. A condition that occurs in a variety of physical and psychological disorders and is characterized by lack of response to external stimuli and by muscular rigidity, so that the limbs remain in whatever position they are placed.
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Related formscat′a•leptic (kăt′l-ĕptĭk) adj.cat′a•leptoid′ adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.