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petit mal

[pet-ee mahl, mal; French puh-tee mal] /ˈpɛt i ˈmɑl, ˈmæl; French pə ti ˈmal/
noun, Pathology
1.
See under epilepsy.
Origin
1870-1875
1870-75; < French: literally, small illness

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 petit mal

petit mal

/ˈpɛtɪ ˈmæl; French pəti mal/
noun
1.
a mild form of epilepsy characterized by periods of impairment or loss of consciousness for up to 30 seconds Compare grand mal
Word Origin
C19: French: little 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 petit mal

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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petit mal in Medicine

petit mal pet·it mal (pět'ē mäl', māl')
n.
A form of epilepsy, occurring most often in adolescents and children, characterized by frequent but transient lapses of consciousness and only rare spasms or falling. Also called absence, petit mal epilepsy.

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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petit 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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petit 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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