verb (used with object), par·a·lyzed, par·a·lyz·ing.

to affect with paralysis.
to bring to a condition of helpless stoppage, inactivity, or inability to act: The strike paralyzed communications.

Also especially British, par·a·lyse.

Origin of paralyze

1795–1805; back formation from paralysis, modeled on analyze
Related formspar·a·ly·zant, adjective, nounpar·a·ly·za·tion, nounpar·a·lyz·er, nounpar·a·lyz·ing·ly, adverbsem·i·par·a·lyzed, adjectiveun·par·a·lyzed, adjective

Synonyms for paralyze

2. See shock1. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for paralyse

Historical Examples of paralyse

  • The effect on the savage was to paralyse him for the moment.

  • "It must paralyse your efforts, preaching to such a congregation," said the other.

  • Her heart beat so violently that it seemed at once to choke and to paralyse her.

  • All this was enough to paralyse those who might have been willing to join.

  • Also the farcical nature of the whole proceeding seemed to paralyse her.


    H. Rider Haggard

British Dictionary definitions for paralyse


US paralyze

verb (tr)

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 Formsparalysation or US paralyzation, nounparalyser or US paralyzer, noun

Word Origin for paralyse

C19: from French paralyser, from paralysie paralysis
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 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

paralyse in Medicine




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.