Definition of convulse in English:



  • 1no object Suffer violent involuntary contraction of the muscles, producing contortion of the body or limbs.

    ‘she convulsed, collapsing to the floor with the pain’
    • ‘The whole body was convulsing, and Lilly's nostrils and eyes flared wide with fright.’
    • ‘Her body convulsed as she tried to run, but couldn't.’
    • ‘Richard frantically tried to put the bullet in any of the six chambers but his body was convulsing so hard that it just wouldn't allow him to despite his extra effort.’
    • ‘The three unknown men in the clearing were grounded, hair frizzled and clothes scorched, their bodies convulsing ever so often though it was clear they were dead.’
    • ‘Mr Bransby said: ‘His whole body was shaking and convulsing and then he just collapsed and couldn't move or speak.’’
    • ‘The demon's body started convulsing and sizzling.’
    • ‘His danger sense went crazy; his entire body convulsed.’
    • ‘The backpack slips from Dawn's fingers, both hands clamping over her mouth, her body convulsing in a struggle to control her gag reflex.’
    • ‘My whole body convulsed until I shrank against the wall.’
    • ‘Blood sprayed across the man and the woman collapsed at his feet, her whole body convulsed as blood drained from the gaping slash wound in her throat.’
    • ‘Her body jerked and convulsed in pain and she fell backwards, dropping her sword with a clatter.’
    • ‘His words echoed in the emptiness of his mind as his frail, emaciated body began to convulse and was racked by involuntary spasms.’
    • ‘After resisting his pull for a moment Jordan's head buried itself in his shoulder, and she willingly allowed the burden to be handed over, her body convulsing with sobs.’
    • ‘Jessica reached for the button to summon the nurse even as Sam's body began to convulse.’
    • ‘Her body convulsed very slightly, but she was silent.’
    • ‘She knew her body was convulsing, but there was little she could do about that.’
    • ‘Kristine tightened her muscles while her body convulsed.’
    • ‘And, you will recall, we saw his body convulsing while he lay on the ground.’
    • ‘Johnathan craned his head to the side to look at the other man, his entire body convulsing, his fingers twitching, his throat contracting in and out from swallowing air, then finally, the man spoke.’
    • ‘He dropped down next to her, and watched in horrified stupefaction as the girl's body convulsed once, twice, then stayed still.’
    shake uncontrollably, shake violently, go into spasms, shudder, jerk, thrash about
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    1. 1.1with object (of an emotion, laughter, or physical stimulus) cause (someone) to make sudden, violent, uncontrollable movements.
      ‘she rocked backwards and forwards, convulsed with helpless mirth’
      • ‘The evil spirit convulsed the man and cried out with a loud voice as he came out of the man.’
      • ‘Even before the overture starts, there is a silent ballet, characterised by odd tics and jerks: the eight dancers appear to be convulsed by supernatural forces greater than themselves.’
      • ‘I was too convulsed with fury to even look at him after what he did to me and Raj.’
      • ‘From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down I was convulsed with laughter.’
      • ‘Penn is convulsed with ostentatiously felt emotion.’
      • ‘The combination of Chase's bowling ball technique, his seriousness about the whole thing, and Aaron's outrageous snort convulsed everyone.’
      • ‘His heart pounded, and his body was convulsed with pain: a residue of the terror of his nightmare.’
      • ‘The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out.’
      • ‘She looked to the king and queen for support, but both were convulsed with laughter.’
      • ‘He takes a tiny sniff of the weapons grade stink, and is convulsed with disgust.’
      • ‘At one point the entire audience was so convulsed it looked like a Mexican wave.’
      • ‘Then she is once more convulsed with the hideous pain of digestion.’
      • ‘His grin mushroomed into laughter, and a moment later, he was convulsed with it.’
      • ‘Ethan's face was convulsed with unspeakable rage & confusion.’
      • ‘Please excuse the lack of in-depth analysis of this story, but it's hard to type when your entire body is convulsed with hysterical laughter.’
      • ‘He then seemed almost to be convulsed with delight at the success of his perilous adventure, and, turning his back, held up the handkerchief to discover the value of his prize, with intense glee evident in every feature.’
      • ‘The implication is that he was not capable of being as convulsed by this horror as was everyone else and that he spiritually approved of and even created the atmosphere for this event.’
      • ‘Then I watched him do it about a week later, and I was distorted and convulsed with hysteria.’
      • ‘They both scream then, arching and jittering as if convulsed by electric current.’
      • ‘Presently the massive bony frame of the Father was convulsed with a fit of coughing.’
      laugh uproariously, roar with laughter, hold one's sides, be doubled up with laughter
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  • 2with object Throw (a country) into violent social or political upheaval.

    ‘a wave of mass strikes convulsed the Ruhr, Berlin, and central Germany’
    • ‘But there is a still greater fact to notice: as a movement which convulsed all Europe, the Reformation was the one sixteenth-century event which deeply and immediately affected all parts of the British Isles.’
    • ‘While the Labour movement - and its leadership - frets over its chances of winning the election, the latest debate convulsing the campaign team is over the manifesto: not what goes in it, but how big it is.’
    • ‘Today our nation is convulsed over the issue of children.’
    • ‘And not surprisingly it has convulsed British politics.’
    • ‘While the latter convulsed the entire political system during 1998, it has now remarkably all but vanished from public discussion.’
    • ‘One of the most remarkable features of the current presidential race is the absence of any discussion of the events that convulsed the entire political system the previous year.’
    • ‘After King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, the nation was convulsed by the worst riots in its history.’
    • ‘It strikes me as a brilliant patch of spiritual light, against a backdrop of the escalating darkness of hate, vengeance, and communal frenzy that convulses our political culture today.’
    • ‘No one but the most obdurate can fail to acknowledge that the main political problem that has convulsed this beautiful State is still a long way from being resolved.’
    • ‘By 1983, protests against the dictatorship by social organizations and the banned political parties convulsed the country.’
    • ‘Within a week the world of hurling was convulsed with speculation about how long Carey had to live and just how big the tumour was.’
    • ‘The Government knows that this would convulse the country in anger.’
    • ‘In September 1949, tens of millions hoped that the establishment of a Communist government in China would bring an end to the military and political turmoil that had convulsed the country for most of the first half of the twentieth century.’
    • ‘This alliance barely outlasted the bonfires lit to celebrate the proclamation of the Crown Colony of Victoria on 1 July 1851, for later that month the colony was convulsed by the discovery of gold.’
    • ‘The family lived in Nigeria where their existence was, for the most part, only peripherally affected by the civil war then convulsing the country.’
    • ‘In the early '90s, the country was really convulsed by the murder rate.’
    • ‘There are huge political and social upheavals that are convulsing the nation.’
    • ‘The capacity of trivial events to convulse the media and political commentators never ceases to amaze.’
    • ‘Those were written by the people, and were essentially autobiographical accounts of growing up in a country convulsed by revolution and change.’
    • ‘As an example of the total commitment I give in doing exhaustive hours of research for this column, I just had to go to the pub the other night and see how the smoking ban is convulsing this great little greedy nation of ours.’


Mid 17th century: from Latin convuls- ‘pulled violently, wrenched’, from the verb convellere, from con- ‘together’ + vellere ‘to pull’.