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[par-uh k-siz-uh m] /ˈpær əkˌsɪz əm/

any sudden, violent outburst; a fit of violent action or emotion:
paroxysms of rage.
Pathology. a severe attack or a sudden increase in intensity of a disease, usually recurring periodically.
an uncontrollable outburst: a paroxysm of giggling


“sudden attack, convulsion,” early 15c., from Middle French paroxysme (16c.), earlier paroxime (13c.), from Medieval Latin paroxysmus “irritation, fit of a disease,” from Greek paroxysmos “irritation, exasperation,” from paroxynein “to irritate, goad, provoke,” from para- “beyond” (see para- (1)) + oxynein “sharpen, goad,” from oxys “sharp, pointed” (see acrid). Non-medical sense first attested c.1600. Related: Paroxysmal.

paroxysm par·ox·ysm (pār’ək-sĭz’əm)

par’ox·ys’mal (-ək-sĭz’məl) adj.


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