ep·i·lep·sy | \ˈe-pə-ˌlep-sē \
plural epilepsies

Definition of epilepsy 

: any of various disorders marked by abnormal electrical discharges in the brain and typically manifested by sudden brief episodes of altered or diminished consciousness, involuntary movements, or convulsions

Examples of epilepsy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Certain frequencies of light can trigger seizures for photosensitive epileptics, about 3 percent of those with epilepsy. Amanda Svachula, New York Times, "‘Incredibles 2’ Moviegoers Warned About Possible Seizures," 18 June 2018 Patients, parents of children suffering from severe epilepsy, and some researchers have long suspected CBD’s potential to treat the devastating seizure disorders. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Marijuana drug wins FDA approval—a first that may change federal regulations," 25 June 2018 The state's law limits CBD use to patients with intractable epilepsy. Cassie Cope, charlotteobserver, "NC mom pushes for medical pot for son. 'It's so obvious and clear that this works.' | Charlotte Observer," 20 Apr. 2018 The program is limited only to patients with intractable epilepsy who have run out of other medicinal treatment options. Keri Blakinger, Houston Chronicle, "Experts push for opioid treatment, against medical marijuana at annual addiction conference," 14 Apr. 2018 As a high school senior, the 18-year-old has already become involved in a project researching depression among people diagnosed with a drug-resistant form of epilepsy. Mary Carole Mccauley, baltimoresun.com, "Teens from 36 states in Baltimore to compete in USA Brain Bee Championship," 17 Mar. 2018 Epidiolex, a form of cannabidiol, will be legally used to treat Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, two serious and rare kinds of epilepsy. Lilly Price, USA TODAY, "FDA approves first marijuana-based epilepsy drug: CBD oil," 26 June 2018 The Food and Drug Administration approved the prescription cannabidiol medicine Monday to treat rare and severe forms of epilepsy. NBC News, "FDA approves cannabis-based drug for epilepsy," 25 June 2018 Epidiolex is specifically approved to treat Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, two rare and severe forms of epilepsy that tend to begin in childhood. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "What You Need to Know About Epidiolex, the First FDA-Approved Drug Made From Cannabis," 25 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'epilepsy.' 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 epilepsy

1543, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for epilepsy

Middle English epilencie, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French epelempsie, modification of Late Latin epilepsia, from Greek epilēpsia, from epilambanein to seize, from epi- + lambanein to take, seize — more at latch

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Statistics for epilepsy

Last Updated

24 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for epilepsy

The first known use of epilepsy was in 1543

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English Language Learners Definition of epilepsy

medical : a disorder of the nervous system that can cause people to suddenly become unconscious and to have violent, uncontrolled movements of the body


ep·i·lep·sy | \ˈe-pə-ˌlep-sē \

Kids Definition of epilepsy

: a disorder of the nervous system that causes people to have seizures


ep·i·lep·sy | \ˈep-ə-ˌlep-sē \
plural epilepsies

Medical Definition of epilepsy 

: any of various disorders marked by abnormal electrical discharges in the brain and typically manifested by sudden brief episodes of altered or diminished consciousness, involuntary movements, or convulsions — see absence epilepsy, grand mal sense 1, petit mal sense 1 focal epilepsy, jacksonian epilepsy, myoclonic epilepsy, temporal lobe epilepsy

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More from Merriam-Webster on epilepsy

Spanish Central: Translation of epilepsy

Nglish: Translation of epilepsy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of epilepsy for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about epilepsy

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