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 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 The Baltimore-Pittsburgh postponement was the second scheduling convulsion announced Monday, after the San Francisco 49ers said in a statement that the team will play its next two home games in State Farm Stadium, home to the Arizona Cardinals. New York Times, "As Virus Upends N.F.L. Schedule, Games Shift to Odd Landing Spots," 30 Nov. 2020 The violence in Louisville is the latest convulsion in a year of anger and one of multiple crises plaguing the nation ahead of November’s election. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, "Pence backs decision not to charge police in Breonna Taylor death," 25 Sep. 2020 Her death has therefore led not just to mourning but to the start of a political convulsion. The Editors, National Review, "Replacing Ginsburg," 20 Sep. 2020 But something about the diagnosis of Gohmert, who has belligerently flouted public health recommendations such as mask wearing and social distancing, prompted a convulsion of rage on Capitol Hill. Editorial New York Times, Star Tribune, "Gohmert's COVID-19 news reveals the divide in Congress," 6 Aug. 2020 The poor characters, too, are hopelessly stuck in their money-grubbing mind-set, fighting each other before the movie explodes, invariably, in a revolutionary convulsion of violence against their class overlords. Ryu Spaeth, The New Republic, "The Irishman and Parasite: Two Paths for the Hustle," 11 Dec. 2019 Setting all this grammatical soul-searching in motion was a global financial convulsion. Fortune, "America’s CEOs Seek a New Purpose for the Corporation," 19 Aug. 2019 The Elazig convulsion, and a much smaller tremor this week, add urgency to warnings by officials and scientists of a calamity. Taylan Bilgic,, "Istanbul Earthquake Warnings Underlined by Eastern Turkey Tremor," 10 May 2020 The pain comes back, along with jaundice, convulsions, coma, and death. Popular Science, "From the death cap to the alcohol inky: seven poisonous mushrooms you definitely don’t want to eat," 11 Mar. 2020

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of convulsion was in 1547

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Statistics for convulsion

Cite this Entry

“Convulsion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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 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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