[ par-uhk-siz-muhl, puh-rok‐ ]
See synonyms for paroxysmal on
  1. sudden and uncontrolled: In 2 years of continuous observations, volcanic activity included minor explosions, persistent degassing, paroxysmal eruptions, and lava flows.This region of the world is going through paroxysmal changes, and ongoing humanitarian aid is a critical need.

  2. Medicine/Medical. occurring periodically, especially with brief episodes; recurrent: Paroxysmal cough was observed in 89% of the infants studied.

Origin of paroxysmal

First recorded in 1570–80; paroxysm + -al1
  • Rarely par·ox·ys·mic [par-uhk-siz-mik, puh-rok‐] /ˌpær əkˈsɪz mɪk, pəˌrɒk‐/ .

Other words from paroxysmal

  • par·ox·ys·mal·ly, adverb
  • post·par·ox·ys·mal, adjective
  • pre·par·ox·ys·mal, adjective

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

How to use paroxysmal in a sentence