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[kuh n-vuhl-shuh n] /kənˈvʌl ʃən/
contortion of the body caused by violent, involuntary muscular contractions of the extremities, trunk, and head.
violent agitation or disturbance; commotion.
an outburst of great, uncontrollable laughter.
Origin of convulsion
1575-85; < Latin convulsiōn- (stem of convulsiō). See convulse, -ion Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for convulsion
  • He would lie motionless beneath a lily pad and then explode in a convulsion of movement if something tasty came by.
  • But a political convulsion has now upended this picture.
  • All coming together, interest was diffused, and no convulsion thus far is apprehended.
  • Now, with the big switch, there has been a nationwide convulsion.
  • Around the same time he begins to get excruciating headaches, which culminate in a convulsion.
  • Large doses have also been known to cause convulsion.
  • She wanted to go, wanted to be part of what was unfolding, this great historical convulsion.
  • After a brief space, the convulsion grew almost imperceptible, and finally subsided into the depths of his nature.
  • All the trouble and convulsion has proceeded from efforts to spread it over more territory.
  • Often a fever triggers a full-blown convulsion that involves the whole body.
British Dictionary definitions for convulsion


a violent involuntary contraction of a muscle or muscles
a violent upheaval, disturbance, or agitation, esp a social one
(usually pl) (informal) uncontrollable laughter: I was in convulsions
Derived Forms
convulsionary, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for convulsion

1580s, from Latin convulsionem (nominative convulsio), noun of action from past participle stem of convellere "to tear loose," from com- "together" (see com-) + vellere "to pluck, pull violently."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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convulsion in Medicine

convulsion con·vul·sion (kən-vŭl'shən)
An intense, paroxysmal, involuntary muscular contraction.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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convulsion in Culture

convulsion definition

A severe, often violent involuntary contraction of the muscles. Convulsions may be caused by high fevers or poisoning and often accompany such diseases such as epilepsy.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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