|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]|
|petit mal (ˈpɛtɪ ˈmæl, French pəti mal)|
|Compare grand mal a mild form of epilepsy characterized by periods of impairment or loss of consciousness for up to 30 seconds|
|[C19: French: little illness]|
epilepsy ep·i·lep·sy (ěp'ə-lěp'sē)
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.
petit mal pet·it mal (pět'ē mäl', māl')
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 (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.