convulse

verb

con·​vulse kən-ˈvəls How to pronounce convulse (audio)
convulsed; convulsing

transitive verb

: to shake or agitate violently
especially : to shake with or as if with irregular spasms
was convulsed with laughter

intransitive verb

: to become affected with convulsions
Choose the Right Synonym for convulse

shake, agitate, rock, convulse mean to move up and down or to and fro with some violence.

shake often carries a further implication of a particular purpose.

shake well before using

agitate suggests a violent and prolonged tossing or stirring.

an ocean agitated by storms

rock suggests a swinging or swaying motion resulting from violent impact or upheaval.

the whole city was rocked by the explosion

convulse suggests a violent pulling or wrenching as of a body in a paroxysm.

spectators were convulsed with laughter

Examples of convulse in a Sentence

The patient reacted to the medication and began convulsing. The country was convulsed by war.
Recent Examples on the Web How Europe Can Reform Its Migration Policy Three years since the start of the European refugee crisis, the continent’s politics are still convulsed by disagreements over migration. Alexander Betts, Foreign Affairs, 10 June 2024 What’s disrupting the future for entertainment industry workers is much like what began convulsing U.S. manufacturing decades ago: new technology that has transformed the business and reduced the need for workers, as well as the rise of cheaper production sites elsewhere in the U.S. and abroad. Don Lee, Los Angeles Times, 10 June 2024 Desperate to stem protests that have convulsed campuses across the country, a small number of universities have agreed to reconsider their investments in companies that do business with Israel. Maureen Farrell, New York Times, 3 May 2024 In recent years, the state has been convulsed in violence, much of it connected to the drug trade. Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times, 3 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for convulse 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'convulse.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Latin convulsus, past participle of convellere to pluck up, convulse, from com- + vellere to pluck — more at vulnerable

First Known Use

1614, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of convulse was in 1614

Dictionary Entries Near convulse

Cite this Entry

“Convulse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/convulse. Accessed 23 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

convulse

verb
con·​vulse kən-ˈvəls How to pronounce convulse (audio)
convulsed; convulsing
: to shake violently
especially : to shake with usually uncontrolled jerky movements
convulsed with laughter

Medical Definition

convulse

verb
con·​vulse kən-ˈvəls How to pronounce convulse (audio)
convulsed; convulsing

transitive verb

: to shake or agitate violently
especially : to shake or cause to shake with or as if with irregular spasms
was convulsed with pain

intransitive verb

: to become affected with convulsions
some children will inevitably convulse when fever reaches a high pointH. R. Litchfield & L. H. Dembo

More from Merriam-Webster on convulse

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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