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"the state of an animal when it is feigning death," 1883, from German kataplexie, from Greek kataplexis "stupefaction, amazement, consternation," from kataplessein "to strike down" (with fear, etc.), from kata- "down" (see cata-) + plessein "to strike, hit," from PIE *plak- (2) "to strike" (see plague (n.)). Related: Cataplectic.
cataplexy cat·a·plex·y (kāt'ə-plěk'sē)
A sudden loss of muscle tone and strength, usually caused by an intense emotional stimulus.