Definition of paralytic in English:



  • 1Relating to paralysis.

    ‘the incidence of paralytic disease’
    • ‘Tetanus is an acute, spastic paralytic illness caused by a toxin released from the bacterium Clostridium tetani.’
    • ‘Red tides, for example, can cause outbreaks of life-threatening diseases, such as paralytic shellfish poisoning, which can shut down mussel and clam harvesting for long periods of time.’
    • ‘The CDC website relates that there are two common types of rabies: ‘furious’ rabies and paralytic or ‘dumb’ rabies.’
    • ‘Some toxic marine species cause paralytic shellfish poisoning, particularly when forming red tides.’
    • ‘The mutations make it more transmissible and possibly more likely to cause paralytic disease than ordinary live vaccine-derived strains, according to the Health Department.’
  • 2British informal [predicative] Extremely drunk.

    ‘a leaving party which left everyone paralytic’
    • ‘Elizabeth was drunker than anybody that night - she was paralytic.’
    • ‘He said excessive drinking was often glorified through the media and we had to change the current mindset that it was ‘a great laugh’ to persistently get paralytic drunk.’
    • ‘The judge told him, ‘You were paralytic drunk and punched a perfectly decent man in the face.’’
    • ‘Young people, many of them still at school stagger out of the pub, intoxicated, paralytic from drinking too much alcohol.’
    • ‘I was almost paralytic by midnight when I was meant to be on stage at Sound On Sunday collecting my prize.’
    intoxicated, inebriated, drunken, befuddled, incapable, tipsy, the worse for drink, under the influence, maudlin
    View synonyms


  • A person affected by paralysis.

    ‘I do not wish to live as a helpless paralytic’
    • ‘The scribes, perhaps those who had earlier lost face and are by now smitten with envy, aggressively confront Jesus about his right to offer forgiveness to the paralytic.’
    • ‘As the number and size of state hospitals increased, however, overcrowded wards housed chronic cases: long-term schizophrenics, the senile, paralytics, and epileptics.’
    • ‘I have illustrated this for my beginning New Testament students by comparing the story of the healing of the paralytic in the Gospels of Mark and Luke.’
    • ‘Soon people were coming to see Him from as far as Canada who were suffering from every kind of disease and disorder: mental illness, epileptics, paralytics, and Joshua healed them all.’
    • ‘Almost all the seniors in these places are over 70 years old with a very weak physical condition and many are paralytics.’


Late Middle English: from Old French paralytique, via Latin from Greek paralutikos relating to paralysis (see paralysis).