paralysis

noun

pa·​ral·​y·​sis pə-ˈra-lə-səs How to pronounce paralysis (audio)
plural paralyses pə-ˈra-lə-ˌsēz How to pronounce paralysis (audio)
1
: complete or partial loss of function especially when involving the motion or sensation in a part of the body
2
: loss of the ability to move
3
: a state of powerlessness or incapacity to act

Example Sentences

The disease causes a paralysis of the legs. The whole country is in a state of paralysis. They are trying to end the political paralysis that has been gripping the country.
Recent Examples on the Web Their team trained two people with long-standing paralysis—a 58-year-old woman and a 66-year-old man—to use a brain-machine interface (BMI) which decoded signals from their motor cortex to direct a robotic arm to reach for and grasp objects. WIRED, 20 Jan. 2023 Past projects have too often been marked by cost overruns, regulatory paralysis, coordination difficulties, and conflicts among federal, state, and local government entities, contractors, and sub-contractors. Nathan Rosenberg, Fortune, 19 Dec. 2022 Others developed new allergies and extreme itchiness, bouts of blindness and paralysis, or joint pain and hair loss. Natalie Shure, The New Republic, 8 Dec. 2022 The fatalities, along with other incidents resulting in traumatic brain injury, concussion, paralysis, fractures and ligament damage, were found to have occurred between 2019 and 2021, according to the CPSC. Kate Gibson, CBS News, 17 Nov. 2022 The disease comes with a list of symptoms—including numbness, issues with memory, and paralysis—that vary significantly from person to person. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, 17 Nov. 2022 To find a solution for Lim’s paralysis, Glassman and Shaun must put their differences aside. Olivia Mccormack, Washington Post, 31 Oct. 2022 They are connected to sleep paralysis, which can be downright scary. Manasee Wagh, Popular Mechanics, 17 Oct. 2022 The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office charged Ray Shaqil Reeves, 29, with vehicular manslaughter, five counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and two special allegations for brain injury, paralysis, and great bodily harm. Jordan Parker, San Francisco Chronicle, 13 Oct. 2022 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Latin, from Greek, from paralyein to loosen, disable, from para- + lyein to loosen — more at lose

First Known Use

1525, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of paralysis was in 1525

Dictionary Entries Near paralysis

Cite this Entry

“Paralysis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/paralysis. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

paralysis

noun
pa·​ral·​y·​sis pə-ˈral-ə-səs How to pronounce paralysis (audio)
plural paralyses -ə-ˌsēz How to pronounce paralysis (audio)
: complete or partial loss of function especially when involving motion or sensation in a part of the body

Medical Definition

paralysis

noun
pa·​ral·​y·​sis pə-ˈral-ə-səs How to pronounce paralysis (audio)
plural paralyses -ˌsēz How to pronounce paralysis (audio)
: complete or partial loss of function especially when involving the power of motion or of sensation in any part of the body see hemiplegia, paraplegia, paresis sense 1

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