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

The neurologist had seen a similar movement in some of his patients with epilepsy. Suzanne O’sullivan, WSJ, "Confessions of the Miswired Brain," 5 Oct. 2018 The drug, Epidiolex, is approved to treat two rare forms of epilepsy, Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gestaut syndrome. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "Updated: What You Need to Know About Epidiolex, the First FDA-Approved Drug Made From Cannabis," 1 Nov. 2018 The disorders afflict fewer than 45,000 people in the United States, but experts expect Epidiolex to be prescribed for other types of epilepsy as well. Washington Post, "The Health 202: SCOTUS's only 2018 health-care ruling may land today," 26 June 2018 Hundreds or even thousands of applications can be expected, most of them from patients suffering from epilepsy, multiple sclerosis or chronic pain. The Economist, "High and mighty," 21 June 2018 At just 4 years old, Alyssa was diagnosed with PCDH19, a form of epilepsy that results in seizures, cognitive delays and other symptoms. PEOPLE.com, "9-Year-Old Suffering from Seizures Requests Manicure from Hospital Staff — and They Listened," 20 June 2018 Dravet syndrome is rare, catastrophic, lifelong form of epilepsy that begins in first year of life with frequent and/or prolonged seizures. Rasputin Todd, Cincinnati.com, "Things to do in Cincinnati this week," 26 Feb. 2018 Some years back, Nell was diagnosed with epilepsy, which landed her in Chang's charge. Robbie Gonzalez, WIRED, "One Sentence With 7 Meanings Unlocks a Mystery of Human Speech," 28 June 2018 Other companies are also studying cannabinoids include Insys (for epilepsy, Prader-Willi syndrome, and other diseases) and Zynerba (for fragile X syndrome, Tourette syndrome, and other conditions). Andrew Joseph, STAT, "Archived chat: STAT on Marijuana-based medicine and drug development," 28 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

3 Dec 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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