[ kuh n-vuhl-shuh n ]
/ kənˈvʌl ʃən /


contortion of the body caused by violent, involuntary muscular contractions of the extremities, trunk, and head.
violent agitation or disturbance; commotion.
an outburst of great, uncontrollable laughter.

Nearby words

  1. convolvulaceous,
  2. convolvulus,
  3. convoy,
  4. convulsant,
  5. convulse,
  6. convulsionary,
  7. convulsive,
  8. convulsive disorder,
  9. convulsively,
  10. conway

Origin of convulsion

First recorded in 1575–85, convulsion is from the Latin word convulsiōn- (stem of convulsiō). See convulse, -ion Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for convulsions

British Dictionary definitions for convulsions


/ (kənˈvʌlʃən) /


a violent involuntary contraction of a muscle or muscles
a violent upheaval, disturbance, or agitation, esp a social one
(usually plural) informal uncontrollable laughterI was in convulsions
Derived Formsconvulsionary, 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

Word Origin and History for convulsions



1580s, from Latin convulsionem (nominative convulsio), noun of action from past participle stem of convellere "to tear loose," from com- "together" (see com-) + vellere "to pluck, pull violently."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for convulsions


[ kən-vŭlshən ]


An intense, paroxysmal, involuntary muscular contraction or a series of such contractions.seizure

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

Culture definitions for convulsions


A severe, often violent involuntary contraction of the muscles. Convulsions may be caused by high fevers or poisoning and often accompany such diseases such as epilepsy.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.