con·​vul·​sive | \kən-ˈvəl-siv \

Definition of convulsive 

1a : constituting or producing a convulsion

b : caused by or affected with convulsions

2 : resembling a convulsion in being violent, sudden, frantic, or spasmodic convulsive laughter

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from convulsive

convulsively adverb
convulsiveness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for convulsive

fitful, spasmodic, convulsive mean lacking steadiness or regularity in movement. fitful implies intermittence, a succession of starts and stops or risings and fallings. fitful sleep spasmodic adds to fitful the implication of rapid or violent activity alternating with inactivity. spasmodic growth convulsive suggests the breaking of regularity or quiet by uncontrolled movement. convulsive shocks

Examples of convulsive in a Sentence

the assassination of Martin Luther King was one of the most convulsive events of the 1960s after a day of convulsive trading, the stock market was down 300 points

Recent Examples on the Web

At the median, convulsive seizures dropped by 63 percent in the Dravet patients given ZX008 compared with a 1 percent reduction in placebo patients. Adam Feuerstein, STAT, "Zogenix to submit anti-seizure drug for approval after clinical trial confirms benefit," 12 July 2018 But for much of the past century Iran has been locked in a convulsive struggle between rulers wanting to maintain their prerogatives and the ruled seeking freedom. Reuel Marc Gerecht And, WSJ, "Don’t Fear Regime Change in Iran," 11 June 2018 The rate of these changes from an ecologist's point of view is convulsive. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Inconvenient Minifauna and the Invasion of the Hammerhead Flatworms," 25 May 2018 While the various cases have yet to go to trial, the scandal has already endured its share of convulsive and strange twists. Jake Fischer And Jon Wertheim,, "Could a Rogue FBI Agent Derail the NCAA Corruption Probe?," 23 May 2018 But by the summer of 1979, Rodney Dangerfield was on an incredible run of volcanic guest appearances on The Tonight Show, often reducing Johnny Carson to a slumped, convulsive fool, wiping tears from his eyes. Chris Nashawaty,, "Inside the Caddyshack Scene That Squashed the Bill Murray-Chevy Chase Beef," 17 Apr. 2018 Lavrov, speaking on a trip to Belarus, said British officials have engaged in ‘‘frantic and convulsive efforts to find arguments to support their indefensible position’’ instead of producing evidence., "Poisoned ex-spy in UK no longer in critical condition, hospital says," 7 Apr. 2018 Though this bureaucratic rite takes place every time a new party occupies the White House, the convulsive turnover that took place in 2017 made the shift far more pronounced. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: How the marches for gun control are like the protests against Vietnam," 26 Mar. 2018 Sublime cinematic poetry nudges the experience back in time, before our convulsive digital age and before the emergence of talkies. Christopher Knight,, "Artist Olafur Eliasson built a 'Reality projector' of smashing beauty," 2 Mar. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of convulsive

1615, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about convulsive

Share convulsive

Dictionary Entries near convulsive



convulsion root





Statistics for convulsive

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for convulsive

The first known use of convulsive was in 1615

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for convulsive



English Language Learners Definition of convulsive

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

: causing the entire body to shake


con·​vul·​sive | \kən-ˈvəl-siv \

Kids Definition of convulsive

: causing or marked by violent, frantic, or jerky movement By convulsive efforts he got on his feet, staggered, and fell.— Jack London, The Call of the Wild

Other Words from convulsive

convulsively adverb


con·​vul·​sive | \kən-ˈvəl-siv \

Medical Definition of convulsive 

1 : constituting or producing a convulsion convulsive disorders

2 : caused by or affected with convulsions convulsive motions a convulsive patient

Other Words from convulsive

convulsively adverb

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on convulsive

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with convulsive

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for convulsive

Spanish Central: Translation of convulsive

Nglish: Translation of convulsive for Spanish Speakers

Comments on convulsive

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


a knickknack or trinket

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!