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

Other Words from convulsion

convulsionary \ kən-​ˈvəl-​shə-​ˌner-​ē How to pronounce convulsion (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 After reading Klimat, Russia’s attack on Ukraine begins to look like the convulsion of a dying state. Sophie Pinkham, The New York Review of Books, 8 June 2022 In the second, a man slumped against a bathroom wall and a woman lying in bed; the two showed signs of convulsion. Washington Post, 10 May 2022 That is why a big Republican showing in the midterms will produce a convulsion among progressives, one that looks like a political crisis but that is, at heart, a spiritual crisis. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, 13 Feb. 2022 Add fictional escapes, over-the-top recipes, and big-name memoirs to the growing list of products that have fallen victim to a global supply chain in convulsion., 28 Oct. 2021 The idea that one player can switch teams and tilt the league’s balance of power has become a source of inspiration and convulsion. Ben Cohen, WSJ, 19 Oct. 2021 This allows your toes to twitch, visible evidence of convulsion. Donald Antrim, The New Yorker, 9 Aug. 2021 Police Superintendent David Brown tried to blame the hot weekend’s convulsion of violence on the Cook County court system’s bail reform, saying too many violent offenders are being released on electronic monitoring. Rex Huppke,, 7 July 2021 An incident so horrifying can and will stop America in its tracks, causing nationwide convulsion—protests, riots, burning of businesses. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, 27 May 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of convulsion

1547, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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The first known use of convulsion was in 1547

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Last Updated

13 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Convulsion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for convulsion


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

More from Merriam-Webster on convulsion

Nglish: Translation of convulsion for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of convulsion for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about convulsion


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