Definition of paroxysm in US English:

paroxysm

noun

  • 1A sudden attack or violent expression of a particular emotion or activity.

    ‘a paroxysm of weeping’
    • ‘Suddenly I was seized with a paroxysm of hot tears as I glanced over the pristine countryside of the San Louis Obispo area through which we were driving on the way to the hospital.’
    • ‘His breath is taken away by the city's loveliness to the extent that seeing a ‘clumpish’, aesthetically appalling block of flats in the midst of such splendour almost sends him into a paroxysm of bewildered fury.’
    • ‘My favourite is the chubby mustachioed nerd in the bottom right, fist punching the air in a paroxysm of ecstasy.’
    • ‘The stasis climaxed in a paroxysm of killing during which the now-dominant democrats cornered and slaughtered their less numerous opponents.’
    • ‘Isaiah threw a pair of clean socks at my head in a paroxysm of vexation.’
    • ‘He howled out the last words in a paroxysm of despair.’
    • ‘More backward employers have gone into a paroxysm of rage over the government's climbdown on pensions.’
    • ‘I give Katie a goodbye hug, and I think she is shocked that her mother does not explode in a paroxysm of rage at such forbidden behavior.’
    • ‘And Washington could not have chosen a worse moment than now for a paroxysm of finger-pointing.’
    • ‘Months later Earl is still reliving the event in a paroxysm of fury, disgust, and hopeless longing.’
    • ‘The world today is caught in a paroxysm of violent upheaval.’
    • ‘Blind, horrible terror filled my heart and in a paroxysm of fear I lashed out.’
    • ‘She is charged with an extraordinary animal vitality and expresses a paroxysm of movement and emotion like one possessed.’
    • ‘We need to understand how a country turned against itself in a paroxysm of cruelty, abetted by certain nations who had a stake in its implosion and ignored by others who thought they didn't.’
    • ‘A paroxysm of deep, raspy coughs followed her words.’
    • ‘When news of the ‘air corridor’ agreement appeared in the press, it produced a paroxysm of traditionalist rage against such ‘collaboration’ with a Tory government.’
    • ‘It took all my philosophy, all the religion I had been taught, all my courage, not to collapse in a paroxysm of fright.’
    • ‘I still remember my first day there, seeing all the fighters in their black robes and the savage gleam in their eyes as they warily circled each other before exploding in a paroxysm of violence.’
    • ‘He came to a halt, dissolving into a paroxysm of giggles.’
    • ‘But what happens if the anticipated €15 billion bonanza sends the Irish economy into a paroxysm of overspending, soaring inflation and rocketing house prices?’
    spasm, attack, fit, burst, bout, convulsion, seizure, outburst, outbreak, eruption, explosion, flare-up, access
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    1. 1.1Medicine A sudden recurrence or attack of a disease; a sudden worsening of symptoms.
      • ‘Repetitive episodes of coronary artery spasm and paroxysms of hypertension may result in endothelial damage, coronary artery dissection, and acceleration of atherosclerosis.’
      • ‘Trials are in progress to evaluate pacemakers that detect trends in heart rate and ectopy known to be associated with paroxysms of atrial fibrillation and that initiate single site or multisite pacing in response to these changes.’
      • ‘They included non smoking adults with paroxysms of dyspnoea, wheezing and cough, who improved with drug therapy.’
      • ‘Repeated trauma, as in paroxysms of cough, can produce inelastic deformation in the most vulnerable part of the ribs, the middle third.’
      • ‘Of more interest is a sub-group of patients with runs of atrial ectopy, which degenerate to paroxysms of atrial fibrillation.’

Origin

Late Middle English: from French paroxysme, via medieval Latin from Greek paroxusmos, from paroxunein ‘exasperate’, from para- ‘beyond’ + oxunein ‘sharpen’ (from oxus ‘sharp’).

Pronunciation

paroxysm

/ˈpɛrəkˌsɪzəm//ˈperəkˌsizəm/