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paroxysm

[par-uh k-siz-uh m] /ˈpær əkˌsɪz əm/
noun
1.
any sudden, violent outburst; a fit of violent action or emotion:
paroxysms of rage.
2.
Pathology. a severe attack or a sudden increase in intensity of a disease, usually recurring periodically.
Origin
1570-1580
1570-80; earlier paroxismos < Greek paroxysmós irritation, derivative of paroxýnein to irritate. See par-, oxy-1, -ism
Related forms
paroxysmal, paroxysmic, adjective
paroxysmally, adverb
hyperparoxysm, noun
postparoxysmal, adjective
preparoxysmal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for paroxysm
  • He thinks the protest is a paroxysm of rage that merely reveals the underlying weakness of his opponents.
  • It was especially bad at night: I'd lie down to sleep and that would trigger a paroxysm.
  • Lately we seem to be in a paroxysm of worry about the way they spend their time.
  • We have all moved collectively from paroxysm through catharsis.
  • But it is also possible that the sun, in its final paroxysm, may explode.
  • Clasping each other in a paroxysm of anguish, they are engulfed by tears.
  • At that point, the Government undergoes a paroxysm of coming to policy closure.
  • With the threat of a civil war seemingly removed, the city welcomed him in a paroxysm of joy and relief.
  • The doctor's face distorted itself in a paroxysm of fury.
  • For a moment, he falters in a paroxysm of fear and grief.
British Dictionary definitions for paroxysm

paroxysm

/ˈpærəkˌsɪzəm/
noun
1.
an uncontrollable outburst: a paroxysm of giggling
2.
(pathol)
  1. a sudden attack or recurrence of a disease
  2. any fit or convulsion
Derived Forms
paroxysmal, paroxysmic, adjective
paroxysmally, adverb
Word Origin
C17: via French from Medieval Latin paroxysmus annoyance, from Greek paroxusmos, from paroxunein to goad, from para-1 (intensifier) + oxunein to sharpen, from oxus sharp
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 paroxysm
n.

"sudden attack, convulsion," early 15c., from Middle French paroxysme (16c.), earlier paroxime (13c.), from Medieval Latin paroxysmus "irritation, fit of a disease," from Greek paroxysmos "irritation, exasperation," from paroxynein "to irritate, goad, provoke," from para- "beyond" (see para- (1)) + oxynein "sharpen, goad," from oxys "sharp, pointed" (see acrid). Non-medical sense first attested c.1600. Related: Paroxysmal.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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paroxysm in Medicine

paroxysm par·ox·ysm (pār'ək-sĭz'əm)
n.

  1. A sharp spasm or fit; a convulsion.

  2. A sudden onset of a symptom or disease, especially one with recurrent manifestations, such as the chills and fever of malaria.


par'ox·ys'mal (-ək-sĭz'məl) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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