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[ep-uh-lep-see] /ˈɛp əˌlɛp si/
noun, Pathology
a disorder of the nervous system, characterized either by mild, episodic loss of attention or sleepiness (petit mal) or by severe convulsions with loss of consciousness (grand mal)
Origin of epilepsy
1570-80; < Late Latin epilēpsia < Greek epilēpsía epileptic seizure, equivalent to epílēpt(os) suffering from epilepsy (verbid of epilambánein to get hold of, attack; epi- epi- + lambánein to seize) + -ia -y3, with ti > si Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for epilepsy
  • epilepsy is a brain disorder involving repeated, spontaneous seizures of any type.
  • If for example you have epilepsy or similar, they won't take you.
  • Based on their work, new treatments of epilepsy that do not require surgery might become possible.
  • Researchers got a break, however, in the form of patients in line for surgical treatment for epilepsy.
  • Surgical techniques to remove injured brain tissue may be appropriate for some patients with epilepsy.
  • My experience dealing with epilepsy brings to mind the concerns of disability.
  • Homeopathy has really helped another of my dogs with epilepsy.
  • Oh and he also seems now to have developed mild epilepsy.
  • Eyeballs rolled into pills are believed to cure epilepsy.
  • Brain stimulators are now being used for everything from epilepsy to depression to eating disorders.
British Dictionary definitions for epilepsy


a disorder of the central nervous system characterized by periodic loss of consciousness with or without convulsions. In some cases it is due to brain damage but in others the cause is unknown See also grand mal, petit mal
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin epilēpsia, from Greek, from epilambanein to attack, seize, from lambanein to take
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 epilepsy

1570s, from Middle French epilepsie (16c.), from Late Latin epilepsia, from Greek epilepsia "seizure," from epi "upon" (see epi-) + lepsis "seizure," from leps-, future stem of lambanein "take hold of, grasp" (see analemma).

Earlier was epilencie (late 14c.), from Middle French epilence, with form influenced by pestilence. The native name was falling sickness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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epilepsy in Medicine

epilepsy ep·i·lep·sy (ěp'ə-lěp'sē)
Any of various neurological disorders characterized by sudden, recurring attacks of motor, sensory, or psychic malfunction with or without loss of consciousness or convulsive seizures.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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epilepsy in Science
Any of various neurological disorders characterized by recurrent seizures. Epilepsy is caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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epilepsy in Culture
epilepsy [(ep-uh-lep-see)]

A disorder of the brain characterized by sudden, recurring attacks of abnormal brain function, often resulting in convulsions or seizures. The seizures associated with epilepsy can sometimes be controlled by medication.

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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