Get our exclusive Word of the Day images!
1520s, from Latin paralysis, from Greek paralysis "paralysis, palsy," literally "loosening," from paralyein "disable, enfeeble," from para- "beside" (see para- (1)) + lyein "loosen, untie" (see lose).
Figurative use from 1813. Earlier form was paralysie (late 14c., see palsy). Old English equivalent was lyft adl (see left (adj.)) or crypelnes "crippleness."
paralysis pa·ral·y·sis (pə-rāl'ĭ-sĭs)
n. pl. pa·ral·y·ses (-sēz')
Loss of power of voluntary movement in a muscle through injury or through disease of its nerve supply.
Loss of sensation over a region of the body.
The loss of voluntary movement in a body part. Paralysis results from damage to the nerves that supply the affected part of the body.