- any sudden, violent outburst; a fit of violent action or emotion: paroxysms of rage.
- Pathology. a severe attack or a sudden increase in intensity of a disease, usually recurring periodically.
Origin of paroxysm
Examples from the Web for paroxysmal
It was a strange, paroxysmal kind of life that belonged to her.Elsie Venner
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
At first the pain is paroxysmal, with long intervals of ease.
We stood still until the paroxysmal rending in my head ceased.Lazarre
Mary Hartwell Catherwood
It would be necessary to balance protracted periods of inaction against the occasional outburst of paroxysmal explosions.
Paroxysmal convulsions are usually followed, in both cases, by long periods of tranquillity.
- an uncontrollable outbursta paroxysm of giggling
- a sudden attack or recurrence of a disease
- any fit or convulsion
Word Origin and History for paroxysmal
"sudden attack, convulsion," early 15c., from Middle French paroxysme (16c.), earlier paroxime (13c.), from Medieval Latin paroxysmus "irritation, fit of a disease," from Greek paroxysmos "irritation, exasperation," from paroxynein "to irritate, goad, provoke," from para- "beyond" (see para- (1)) + oxynein "sharpen, goad," from oxys "sharp, pointed" (see acrid). Non-medical sense first attested c.1600. Related: Paroxysmal.
- A sharp spasm or fit; a convulsion.
- A sudden onset of a symptom or disease, especially one with recurrent manifestations, such as the chills and fever of malaria.