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illustration Paroxysm



Part of speech: noun

Origin: Greek, early 15th century


A sudden attack or violent expression of a particular emotion or activity.


(Medicine) A sudden recurrence or attack of a disease; a sudden worsening of symptoms.

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."

About Paroxysm

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 “exasperate.”

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 medical discussions as it took on its modern, broader definition.

illustration Paroxysm

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