- 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
Word Origin and History for paroxysmic
"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.