epilepsy

[ep-uh-lep-see]
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:
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

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World English Dictionary
epilepsy (ˈɛpɪˌlɛpsɪ)
 
n
grand mal See also petit mal 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
 
[C16: from Late Latin epilēpsia, from Greek, from epilambanein to attack, seize, from lambanein to take]

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

epilepsy
1570s, from M.Fr. epilepsie, from L.L. epilepsia, from Gk. epilepsia "seizure," from epi- "upon" + lepsis "seizure," from leps-, future stem of lambanein "take hold of, grasp" (see analemma). Replaced the native name, falling sickness.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

epilepsy ep·i·lep·sy (ěp'ə-lěp'sē)
n.
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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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
epilepsy   (ěp'ə-lěp'sē)  Pronunciation Key 
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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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
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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Example sentences
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.
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