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Word of the Day
Thursday, October 20, 2016

Definitions for paroxysm

  1. any sudden, violent outburst; a fit of violent action or emotion: paroxysms of rage.
  2. Pathology. a severe attack or a sudden increase in intensity of a disease, usually recurring periodically.

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Citations for paroxysm
But oh, ye powers! into what a paroxysm of passion did each new outrage of the Yankees throw the choleric little governor! Washington Irving, A History of New York, 1809
And again the unhappy woman gave way to a paroxysm of sorrow, mingling her tears with sobbing, wailing, and all the abandonment of female grief, when at its utmost height. Sir Walter Scott, The Fortunes of Nigel, 1822
Origin of paroxysm
Paroxysm finds its roots in the Greek noun paroxysmós meaning "irritation, exasperation." Its medical sense has a distinguished ancestry, being used by Hippocrates and Galen. It entered English with the medical sense in the early 1400s.