- 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
- an uncontrollable outbursta paroxysm of giggling
- a sudden attack or recurrence of a disease
- any fit or convulsion
Word Origin for paroxysm
"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.