Definition of paresis in US English:



  • 1A condition of muscular weakness caused by nerve damage or disease; partial paralysis.

    ‘examination indicates paresis of the upper left limb’
    count noun ‘some patients had pareses of the arms or legs’
    • ‘In a prospective study of 59 patients undergoing cardiac surgery, the amplitude and area of diaphragmatic evoked potentials were more sensitive than latency in detecting phrenic nerve paresis.’
    • ‘A right facial droop was noted, indicating a central facial nerve paresis.’
    • ‘Gastrointestinal autonomic neuropathy may cause paresis anywhere in the digestive tract, with damage to small myelinated and unmyelinated splanchnic nerves.’
    • ‘With peripheral facial nerve paresis, the forehead and eyes may be affected.’
    • ‘The most alarming symptom of Bell's palsy is paresis; up to three quarters of affected patients think they have had a stroke or have an intracranial tumour.’
    immobility, powerlessness, lack of sensation, numbness, deadness, incapacity, debilitation
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    1. 1.1 Inflammation of the brain in the later stages of syphilis, causing progressive dementia and paralysis.
      • ‘The clinical presentation has shifted from general paresis and tabes dorsalis to meningovascular and atypical forms.’
      • ‘In 1892, he attempted suicide and was sent to a clinic suffering from syphilitic paresis, which had driven him mad; he died at the age of 42.’
      • ‘Parenchymatous syphilis was formerly called general paresis of the insane.’
      • ‘All the identified patients had psychotic illnesses: mania and melancholia, general paresis, and post-encephalitic states.’
      • ‘Despite this, the second crisis occurred in 1916, with a published report on the transmission of syphilis from patients with general paresis into animals.’


Late 17th century: modern Latin, from Greek parienai ‘let go’, from para- ‘alongside’ + hienai ‘let go’.