con·​vul·​sion | \ kən-ˈvəl-shən How to pronounce convulsion (audio) \

Definition of convulsion

1a : an abnormal violent and involuntary contraction or series of contractions of the muscles
2a : a violent disturbance
b : an uncontrolled fit : paroxysm

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Other Words from convulsion

convulsionary \ kən-​ˈvəl-​shə-​ˌner-​ē How to pronounce convulsionary (audio) \ 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 And that, for better or worse, so will the bizarre and cataclysmic convulsion on the Right — Mr. Donald J. Trump. Madeleine Kearns, National Review, "The Final Verdict?," 6 Feb. 2020 Symptoms can include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions, in addition to fever and muscle aches. Htv National Desk, Houston Chronicle, "Deadly listeria outbreak linked to prepackaged hard-boiled eggs, CDC says," 19 Dec. 2019 Once the disease begins to spread, headaches, stiff neck, loss of balance and convulsions are also common. Claudia Harmata,, "Trader Joe’s Is Recalling Some Food Items Over Potential Listeria Contamination — What to Know," 4 Dec. 2019 The fallout from the worst disaster in Puerto Rico's history and last summer's political convulsions that resulted in upheaval and the ouster of a governor has left a population traumatized and distrustful of government at all levels. Author: Arelis R. Hernández, Cristina Corujo, Anchorage Daily News, "Aftershocks again rattle Puerto Rico as residents deal with disaster after disaster," 12 Jan. 2020 Many would be chock full of particular forms of carbon, for instance, dredged up from the star’s core during its convulsions. Charlie Wood, Popular Science, "Our newest alien comet may have been born out of a dying star’s vomit," 3 Jan. 2020 Édouard Manet was a key figure in the creative convulsions that ushered in modernism. Washington Post, "In a year of upheaval, the best art was also the bravest," 10 Dec. 2019 Still, monitoring efforts and reports from tourist companies also picked up some geyser-like convulsions at the time, along with an uptick in gas emissions and seismic rumblings. Robin George Andrews, National Geographic, "Why the New Zealand volcano eruption caught the world by surprise," 9 Dec. 2019 It’s hard to find common ground among Argentines weary of financial crashes and political convulsion. San Diego Union-Tribune, "She’s back: Argentines contemplate possible role for “CFK”," 21 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for convulsion

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The first known use of convulsion was in 1547

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Statistics for convulsion

Last Updated

9 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Convulsion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for convulsion


How to pronounce convulsion (audio)

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 How to pronounce convulsion (audio) \

Kids Definition of convulsion

: an attack of powerful involuntary muscular contractions


con·​vul·​sion | \ kən-ˈvəl-shən How to pronounce convulsion (audio) \

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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