con·​vul·​sion | \kən-ˈvəl-shən \

Definition of convulsion 

1a : an abnormal violent and involuntary contraction or series of contractions of the muscles

b : seizure sense 2a

2a : a violent disturbance

b : an uncontrolled fit : paroxysm

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Other Words from convulsion

convulsionary \ kən-​ˈvəl-​shə-​ˌner-​ē \ adjective

Examples of convulsion in a Sentence

the Russian Revolution was one of the major convulsions of the 20th century

Recent Examples on the Web

Photo: Getty Images Many people think of an epileptic seizure as a convulsion. Suzanne O’sullivan, WSJ, "Confessions of the Miswired Brain," 5 Oct. 2018 The striker slept for the majority of the day, interrupted once by a fit that, described by teammates, included ‘flailing arms’ and whole-body convulsions., "Ronaldo's 1998 Seizure & World Cup Final Appearance Remains One of Football's Greatest Mysteries," 1 June 2018 One patient, a woman, had convulsions and pinpoint pupils, suggesting exposure to a nerve agent, the statement said. Time, "Monitors Say 14 People Were Killed in a Missile Strike on a Syrian Air Base," 9 Apr. 2018 Larger exposure can lead to loss of consciousness, convulsions, paralysis and respiratory failure. Allison Barrie, Fox News, "Innovative project harnesses Legos and smartphones in the fight against invisible, deadly weapons," 13 July 2018 This can cause fever, bloody urine, jaundice, rash, convulsions and, in rare cases, death. Char Adams,, "Woman Bit by Spider Must Pay to Leave Infested Apartment — As Couple Worries About New Renters," 11 July 2018 When officers arrived at the door, Trump collapsed, went into convulsions and had to be taken to the hospital, Fox 43 reported. Scott Berson, miamiherald, "Suspicious relatives called police. Cops found a baby's body in kitty litter, police say," 14 June 2018 Inmates who smoked the drug Monday started vomiting, hallucinating and having convulsions. Fox News, "6 Florida inmates ill after smoking smuggled marijuana," 13 June 2018 This can lead to muscle twitching, paralyzed breathing, convulsions, and death. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Second Novichok poisoning in Britain raises alarm, questions over contamination," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'convulsion.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of convulsion

1547, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for convulsion

The first known use of convulsion was in 1547

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More Definitions for convulsion



English Language Learners Definition of convulsion

medical : a sudden violent shaking of the muscles in your body that you are unable to control

: a sudden experience of something (such as laughter) that shakes or moves your body

: a sudden change or disturbance that affects a country, organization, etc.


con·​vul·​sion | \kən-ˈvəl-shən \

Kids Definition of convulsion

: an attack of powerful involuntary muscular contractions


con·​vul·​sion | \kən-ˈvəl-shən \

Medical Definition of convulsion 

1 : an abnormal violent and involuntary contraction or series of contractions of the muscles often used in plural a patient suffering from convulsions

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Comments on convulsion

What made you want to look up convulsion? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


by force of circumstances

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