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

The convulsions of the 21st century have produced at least two great protest songs, though, both of which arrived before Donald Trump’s election. Chris Richards, Washington Post, "It’s a brave new world. Why is our protest music stuck in the past?," 4 Sep. 2019 The ongoing political convulsions on the island, including federal corruption arrests last week, prompted the White House to contend on Tuesday that President Trump had been right in the past to call Mr. Rosselló’s administration incompetent. Patricia Mazzei, New York Times, "After Tumultuous Protests, Puerto Rico Governor Insists He Will Not Resign," 16 July 2019 That ingredient has been linked by the Drug Enforcement Administration to anxiety, convulsions, psychosis, hospitalization and death. New York Times, "Ads Pitching CBD as a Cure-All Are Everywhere. Oversight Hasn’t Kept Up.," 13 Aug. 2019 Symptoms, which usually arise anywhere from 15 minutes to several days after exposure, include diarrhea or vomiting, weakness or staggering, drooling, difficulty breathing and convulsions or seizures, the EPA reports. Susan Scutti, CNN, "How to spot the toxic algae that's killing dogs in the Southeast," 12 Aug. 2019 Nicotine poisoning can cause seizures, convulsions, vomiting and brain injury. CBS News, "Can vaping trigger seizures? Health officials investigate e-cigarette risks," 8 Aug. 2019 In April, the FDA did note, however, that seizures or convulsions are known potential side effects of nicotine poisoning. Samantha Lauriello,, "The FDA Is Investigating 127 Reports of Seizures Possibly Related to Vaping—Here's What You Need to Know," 8 Aug. 2019 Symptoms include: confusion due to lack of blood flow to the brain reddened dry skin lack of sweat organ failure convulsions or seizure. NBC News, "Don't fry: 3 stages of heat stroke you need to know," 19 July 2019 Exposure can cause convulsions, paralysis and respiratory failure leading to death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alejandra Reyes-velarde,, "No sarin found in package sent to Facebook that prompted evacuations, officials say," 2 July 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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Statistics for convulsion

Last Updated

7 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 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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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).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

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