Definition of catalepsy in English:



  • [mass noun] A medical condition characterized by a trance or seizure with a loss of sensation and consciousness accompanied by rigidity of the body.

    • ‘It causes out-of-body experiences or catalepsy, when people are unable to move, sometimes for up to 12 hours.’
    • ‘A spokesperson for the cemetery told the newspaper: ‘We want to be pioneers and avoid catalepsy cases, in which a person gets completely paralysed for a few hours and ends up buried as if they were dead.’’
    • ‘The term ‘atypical’ was originally used to describe drugs that in animal models predict antipsychotic effects but do not produce catalepsy, most notably clozapine.’
    • ‘The mere prospect of having to recount a personal anecdote plunges me into boredom verging on catalepsy.’
    • ‘Stupor or catalepsy, mutism, posturing/grimacing/stereotypy, echolalia or echopraxia and excessive motor activity were the main catatonic features.’
    • ‘Indications that patients were in hypnosis included observation of eyelid fluttering, catalepsy, and slowed respiration.’
    • ‘‘Atypicality’ was initially defined as the inability to induce catalepsy in laboratory animals (as the old, ‘typical’, conventional agents can do).’
    • ‘Furthermore, high dose morphine is well reported as a cause of rigidity, catalepsy, akathisia, and myoclonus, which must add to the difficulty of interpreting pain on the basis of observation alone.’
    • ‘The hysterics' observable disorders, such as catalepsy, as well as their visual experiences, including hallucination and delirium, were deemed manifest content and, as such, not to be taken at face value.’
    • ‘Admittedly, he suffers from a strange illness which doctors merely call catalepsy, when the muscles become stiff and rigid.’


Late Middle English: from French catalepsie or late Latin catalepsia, from Greek katalēpsis, from katalambanein seize upon.