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grand mal

[gran mahl, -mal, grand; French grahn mal] /ˈgræn ˈmɑl, -ˈmæl, ˈgrænd; French grɑ̃ ˈmal/
noun, Pathology
1.
See under epilepsy.
Origin
1875-1880
1875-80; < French: great ailment, epilepsy

epilepsy

[ep-uh-lep-see] /ˈɛp əˌlɛp si/
noun, Pathology
1.
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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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for grand mal

grand mal

/ɡrɒn mæl; French ɡrɑ̃ mal/
noun
1.
a form of epilepsy characterized by loss of consciousness for up to five minutes and violent convulsions Compare petit mal
Word Origin
French: great illness

epilepsy

/ˈɛpɪˌlɛpsɪ/
noun
1.
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 grand mal

"convulsive epilepsy" (with loss of consciousness), 1842, from French grand mal, literally "great sickness" (see grand (adj.)). Opposed to petit mal "absence seizure."

epilepsy

n.

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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grand mal in Medicine

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.

grand mal (grānd' mäl', māl')
n.
A severe epilepsy characterized by seizures involving spasms and by the loss of consciousness. Also called generalized epilepsy, generalized tonic-clonic epilepsy, generalized tonic-clonic seizure, grand mal epilepsy, idiopathic epilepsy, major epilepsy.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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grand mal in Science
epilepsy
  (ěp'ə-lěp'sē)   
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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grand mal 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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