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

Phenobarbital is a barbiturate that depresses the central nervous system and is sometimes used to treat epilepsy, among other medical disorders. Zolan Kanno-youngs, WSJ, "Queens Mother Charged With Manslaughter in 5-Year-Old’s Fatal Overdose in 2017," 26 July 2018 One 10-year study conducted on using keto to manage pediatric epilepsy found the following GI side effects over time: constipation, high triglyceride levels, high cholesterol, diarrhea, lethargy, iron deficiency, vomiting, and kidney stones. Jaclyn London, Ms, Rd, Cdn, Good Housekeeping, "9 Keto Diet Dangers Nutritionists Want You to Know About," 2 Jan. 2019 Anticonvulsant or antiseizure medications, first developed to treat disorders like epilepsy, are also sometimes used as mood stabilizers. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "14 Facts About Bipolar Disorder That Everyone Should Know," 27 Sep. 2018 Pharmacology Medicines that treat chronic medical conditions, like epilepsy and Type 2 diabetes, are being explored to mimic fasting. Mark Barna, Discover Magazine, "Not So Fast," 24 Sep. 2018 In fact, the boy could not walk because of epilepsy. Fox News, "Spoiler alert: Moderates beat back progressives in primaries," 9 Aug. 2018 Most of the media attention has come from its use in controlling treatment-resistant epilepsy, and it’s been lauded as a possible answer to everything from anxiety to breast cancer. Meirav Devash, Allure, "Everything You Need to Know About CBD Oil in Beauty Products," 25 June 2018 Epidiolex is made by a company based in Britain, where the recent case of a boy with acute epilepsy whose cannabis-oil treatment was confiscated prompted the government to rethink the medical use of cannabis. The Economist, "Business this week," 28 June 2018 Late-night internet searches led her to stories of patients in other states, where medical cannabis was approved for epilepsy, autism, multiple sclerosis, cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder and Alzheimer's. Ileana Najarro, Houston Chronicle, "Texas family fights to broaden medical marijuana rules for epilepsy treatment," 2 May 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

12 Feb 2019

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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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