Part of speech: noun
Origin: Old French, early 15th century
A sudden attack or violent expression of a particular emotion or activity.
Examples of Paroxysm in a sentence
"The opera singer broke into a paroxysm of song."
"After the first paroxysms of grief passed, he was able to focus on important tasks."
Popularity Over Time
This word comes from the Old French “paroxysme” via medieval Latin and the Greek “paroxusmos,” meaning “irritation or exasperation.” This comes from “paroxunein,” which means to “exasperate or goad.” From “para-” meaning “beyond” + “oxunein,” meaning “sharpen.”
Did you Know?
In the earliest uses of “paroxysm” in English, it was often linked to medical conditions and denoted agitated, worsening symptoms of an illness. The term fell out of use in colloquial medical discussion as the word took on its modern, broader definition.